Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Meredith College traditions have been canceled, modified or postponed. This has greatly impacted many Meredith students’ experiences, especially at a school that values traditions so highly. Given the recent alterations to Meredith’s on-campus COVID-19 policies, the College now has a chance to make up for the missed traditions. However, this does not necessarily mean they need to.
As a senior, I have missed out on quite a few monumental Meredith traditions, such as an in-person Ring Dinner, Tea For Two and multiple Stunts and Formals. Granted, I did have a full year and a semester on campus and was able to fully participate in our freshman year traditions, like Fire and Water.
When I heard Meredith was planning on trying to make-up the seniors’ Ring Dinner I had mixed emotions. If you told me a year and a half ago that I could make-up Ring Dinner I probably would have been elated, but at this point, I have mostly accepted our Ring Dinner for the diluted version of the event that it was. Despite these alterations, I still got to spend time with my friends, dress up, take fun pictures and wear my onyx.
Additionally, another qualm that I have with shoving all of the missed traditions into the second half of the semester is burnout. At this point of the semester, I am feeling relatively burnt out and overextended, as I am sure many others are too. However, as a senior I feel almost obligated to participate in all of these last minute events prior to graduation. Inevitably, this will just exacerbate the problem, especially with the seniors’ 22nd Night happening immediately after Ring Dinner.
On March 29, the Class of 2022 received an email from Casey Corpening, senior class president, on behalf of the Office for Student Leadership and Service. This email included a list of 14 traditions or events that will take place between March 29 and May 14, 2022. Not only is this overwhelming, but I feel they are unnecessary. If they were going to attempt to make-up this many events, it may have been more efficient to send a survey asking students which traditions they would like to make up and prioritize those instead of all 14 of them. While I know that I am not required to attend all of these events, I feel obligated under the guise of “experiencing Meredith.”
I have managed to find my place at Meredith in the Meredith community without participating in most traditions. In my opinion, most seniors and juniors have adapted to life at Meredith without these traditions and adding them now just adds stress to our already busy schedules. In the last two years it has been difficult to make connections online, but it was possible. I recognize that to some students traditions have been the backbone of their college experience, but I think it adds a lot of pressure on those responsible for making decisions and executing the traditions.
Yes, the planning and project management opportunities that come with being a chair or co-chair of an event are invaluable. However, similar opportunities were created in other ways on campus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and were available off campus as well.
Ultimately, I do think that I am excited to potentially participate in one or two more traditions prior to graduation. I look forward to having a formal, even if it is outside, just to dress up one more time with my peers. However, I do not think it was necessary to try and make-up every single missed tradition. Between Formal, Stunt, Tea for Two, Fire and Water, Ring Dinner, 22nd Night, Crook Hunt, Senior Family Night and more, there is way too much to accomplish with less than half of the semester remaining.
By Elinor Shelp-Peck, Co-Editor in Chief