Fall Fest: The First Year Experience

Blair Banks, Class of 2015

“Seniors! How many days ‘til Fall Fest?” yells a member of the class of 2012 during lunch. As per tradition, seniors begin clamoring on top of their chairs, drinks in hand, ready to answer in song. Their voices of anticipation echo throughout the room, followed by their cheers of excitement once the final words are sung.

Fall Fest is a day in which classes come together to celebrate sisterhood and embody the spirit of Salem. It is a day filled with fun-filled activities, including a parade and the skits. Anticipation of the coming day runs high, but for the first year class it’s
more of a feeling of stress– an understandable response to the challenge this tradition puts forth.

As a way to combat some of this stress, a Fall Fest workshop made specifically for first years was held by Fall Fest Chair Erin VanBuskirk (c/o 2013) and an alum who gave a detailed description of what was to be expected of us as a class. A few days later, the Fall Fest Kickoff Party took place in Bryant Hall, and the theme, holidays, was announced. The first year class met that night in Babcock lounge to discuss potential ideas. The meeting did not go as smoothly as it could have. Efforts were made to hear all the suggestions, but some left feeling that their voice was not heard or their idea not truly considered. That was to be expected, considering that the class had only been together for six days. As weeks passed, meetings were
progressively becoming more productive, but the stress level remained high.

This same stress is a part of Salem College Fall Fest traditions. It can also be argued that the class of 2015 had less to be stressed about since they were fortunate to receive help via a workshop. According to some upperclassmen, previous classes did not receive a Fall Fest workshop when they were first years. Instead, they were more or less told to figure it out on their own. As a result of this, they were unfamiliar with the chants and cheers part of the competition, resulting in them coming up
with a song on the spot. In more recent years, the incoming classes have been given a better chance of actually winning a Fall Fest event because of these workshops.

It was not until the morning of Fall Fest that the actual success of these workshops would be evident. The day moved
along smoothly while students participated in earlier activities and eagerly waited until 7 p.m. to see the Fall Fest skits. At 7 p.m., Hanes Auditorium was filled, and the lights dimmed as the first years took the stage. Thirty minutes later, they walked off stage and into the audience with homemade posters for their Big Sisters. A sense of relief seemed to cover over a hundred faces belonging to the class of 2015. Together they made it and could finally agree that Fall Fest was surely “one hell of a day.”

One thought on “Fall Fest: The First Year Experience

  1. Whitney Pritchard

    Hahaha you know what… even when you a Senior the stress doesn’t get any better. The pressure is actually worse… we have so much more to work with it’s super intense trying to prove we can do a good job lol. For the record the first year skits was adorable… as was the sophmores…. my personal favorite 🙂


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