November 24, 2010

on the day after "jump night"

here at OSU, during the week of the OSU v. Michigan game, some of our students on campus engage in a tradition known as "Jump Night." if you are not familiar with this tradition, here is a little YouTube highlight video to give you a taste of the event:

Mirror Lake Jump

Notes regarding the video:
1. yes, that student did indicate that the water she jumped into was "0 degrees"
2. this was the most wholesome one i could find
3. and, bonus, it has a snippet of info on the actual tradition that started all of this...

as a student affairs professional, this night is a work night for us.
which means that, last night, i picked up my boys from school, took them home for the usual routine, packed bags for Thanksgiving, and waited for Bern to get home from class at 10 so i could head back to campus.
needless to say, students make a variety of choices the night of this event that require follow up from our staff who work in the residence halls.
personally, i made the unfortunate choice of drinking a little too much before the big event.
my particular poison was a Cafe Mocha.
and now, after heading back home around 2:30 in the morning, i can't sleep.
so i am using this time to reflect on the lessons i can use from tonight's events in parenting my boys.

but first, a few clarifications:
- i love traditions. i believe they create community and a variety of other potential positive emotions.
- i went to an undergrad that did not ground itself in athletically related traditions, and i truly enjoy that about working at Ohio State
- but, the fact that i look at each of our residents as one of the most precious things someone else can put in my care causes me concern about some of the things i see on a night like tonight.
- i do not actually believe that the things i saw last night are a direct result of parenting. hopefully. but, perhaps here in our field, we don't alway share the seeds we could use help planting in our students minds as they wander off to jump in a frigid lake...

and, as such...

i do solemnly swear to raise my boys so that, when they go ahead and empty out our little nest on their journeys off to college...and face their first big campus tradition night...they will NOT:

- tell random women they love them for helping prop them up on a wall.

- accidentally, and from what i could tell, unknowingly, share the contents of their Speedo

- (amendment: they will not choose to wear a Speedo in social settings in the first place)

- find themselves knocking out their front teeth

- find themselves vomiting in the coffee cup/bowl/other food-related item that is grabbed off of their residence hall room desk for this "repurposed" use

- (note: nor will they force someone to make the decision on their behalf: "what bowl-like vessel on this desk does this student potentially care about the least?")

- lose control of bodily functions my toddler is working to regulate. in a public space. that is not a restroom.

- have the EMT declare them the most intoxicated person they have ever seen

- wander about scantily clad. without ID. and forget their name. 

- confuse people for their parents. then proceed to beg said non-parent not to pull them out of school for their behavior

- think that their friend standing in front of them is actually blocking a crowd of horrified RAs from seeing their birthday suit while they change into dry clothes

- be the guys who don't tell the woman they are walking with that she might want to retie her bikini top so that it is actually applied to her person. no matter how much they or their friends are benefitting from said wardrobe malfunction

these are just a few.
i'm sure as the Incident Reports roll in i could add more to the list...

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