As society changes, the importance of tradition becomes more evident, and this is especially true on college campuses. In an environment that can become stressful due to the importance of your studies, tradition serves to keep you grounded. It's a way for you to connect with your fellow students while immersing yourself in the unique culture of your college. Every school has its own rituals that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Graduation itself is a tradition, but many colleges enhance the experience for new graduates by allowing them to partake in fun activities that'll give them lasting memories. At Stanford, students do the Wacky Walk on the field of Stanford Stadium just before commencement. They dress up in outrageous clothing and bring entertaining props. New grads have been seen wearing giant cowboy hats and basketball jerseys while cooking, playing volleyball and proposing marriage. Students at NYU let loose by jumping into a fountain in Washington Square Park without removing their caps and gowns. Graduating seniors at Williams College get a parting lesson in physics as they watch the school president drop a watch from the spire of Thompson Memorial Chapel. If it breaks after the 80-foot drop, time has stopped and the new grads will receive good luck. The tradition goes back almost a century.
There isn't a better time to let off steam and be reminded of why you love your school than as finals week approaches. The Naked Quad Run at Tufts on the last Friday of classes is a perfect release for students who've been cooped up in their dorm rooms all semester studying. They run laps around Rez Quad in sub-freezing temperatures wearing nothing more than shoes and perhaps matching thongs. At Penn, when students used to yell "Rowbottom," a spontaneous riot would ensue, though it died after preventative measures were taken in the '60s. College athletics is particularly conducive to tradition. During basketball season, the area surrounding Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium becomes a tent city known as Krzyzewski-ville – named after the basketball team's legendary coach. It houses hundreds of students who want to watch the next big game in person. The camaraderie and pride that come with these traditions help make the college experience unique. They help you gain much more than just an education.