Raisin Weekend: Behind the Tradition

Upon applying for a place at St Andrews, you may have been intrigued by the following passage on the University wesbite:

“St Andrews is also the home of the Academic Family, a spontaneous tradition where older students adopt first year students as 'children'. Parents can help guide the first years through life at St Andrews in a system of mentoring, which reaches its most outrageous at Raisin Weekend…”

Now, how you understand the noun ‘mentor’ will ultimately determine what you expect from Raisin Weekend and, essentially, to what extent you will be sadly corrected.

Sure, in the ‘real world’ family are there for support, to guide you through good and bad, to love and care for you, and to fall back on when in need. However, in the Bubble things run a little differently: you may have met your academic parents when highly intoxicated grooving your feistiest moves on the Union dance floor, and may recollect such wonderful memories as the night you were adopted. However, do not be fooled. For you have no idea what is yet to come this very weekend.

Keeping the kids entertained

Listen up parents, particularly you medic folk who are new to the parental scene…

 You may have learned about all the effects of alcohol (through drunk texts and in the Lizard) and be thinking of the perfect games to torment your kiddies with. Do it, but take it easy, you don’t want your them blacking out after half an hour;  or even worse – leaving the remnants of their hall dinner on your cream-carpeted floor (not nice).

 However, do plan those games wisely: no one wants to attend a Raisin party to just play any old ‘ring of fire’.  Mix in a bit of athletics and add some dress up/down (your preference) rules in there.

 Mothers out there, your dinner party is essential to show a bit of lovin’ to your children, and to line their stomachs for what their fathers have to follow… be kind, not cruel. Nevertheless, feel free to include some quirky mix-ups involving custard, lots of food colouring and baked beans (my worst fear).

 Mammas of the Bubble, it is also your job to provide a creative costume for the Raisin foam fight, so prepare something outrageous. The competition is fierce, and from what I saw last year (toilet rolls, balloons, wheel barrows) the possibilities and humility levels are never-ending.

 Fathers, it’s down to you to make the magic happen (take that as you will – incest will be what you make of it, and may well haunt you in your following years/morning). Choose wisely on your mix up of alcoholic beverages… LMFAO’s Shots ft. Lil Jon will most definitely go down well, I can assure you.

 Get planning your town orienteering tasks and scavenger hunts – whether it be the first to kiss 10 strangers on the street, to buy 5 dirty items, to swim from one side of West Sands to the next.

 Just remember to keep your babies safe and remember what you most loved and hated about Raisin, and try to find that happy medium. I wasn’t loving being carried home after being told to “Take shots like a Geordie” – in other words, twice the amount everyone else had to do, in the middle of the street.

The Raisin child’s survival guide

I don’t expect many of you to follow this piece of advice, but the night prior, sleep. Seriously, you have one of the longest days ahead of you.

 For those of you who receive a ‘threat text’ telling you to be there on time or suffer the consequences, do not to be late… because they’re not joking. And you will suffer.

 Similarly, be prepared to receive a Raisin receipt from your Fathers… this could be anything from chocolates (the lovely kind) to a horrific concoction of alcohol, or as I saw last year, mannequins to sleep with, rubbish from their bin, or a mysterious “lash towel”…

 You will most likely be marked on your arms with contact details such as ‘My name is …. If found please return to…. Tel:…’ Just in case…

 Sleeping off a hangover is probably vital but make sure you don’t miss out on the foam fight in St Salvador’s Quad…where you and your siblings will be displaying some delightful costumes to initiate you all into first year. Best tip? Bring some goggles so you can see your way home covered in foam.

 Don’t do anything you really don’t want to do, and remember incest is potentially a family breaker (for those who can’t resist, May Dip is waiting to cleanse your sins).

Most of all, parents and children alike should go out with an open mind, because you’ll remember this day for the rest of your lives, regardless of how it turns out. 

Images courtesy of Bethany Wellerd and Neyme Veli. Textures by Cloaks. Compiled and edited by Kerri Pandjaitan.