Agnes Scott College would mean nothing without its traditions: Senior Investiture, Ring Ceremony, Peak Week, Black Cat Week, Pancake Jam- the list can go on. To an outsider, these names are meaningless. To a Scottie, however, these names are fun, nostalgia, memories, family. From donning one’s class colors, to coming up with a class mascot, to rushing the quad, to finally singing together at the bonfire- zipping through an excruciating four years- to donning one’s class colors, to screaming out the first-years’ not-so-secret mascot, to singing at the last bonfire a senior Scottie will experience with their class, the tears flowed.
Black Cat Week began in 1915 as a prank night between first-years and sophomores; it is one of the oldest Agnes Scott traditions. On the first night of Black Cat Week, the school bell is rung and students from all of the classes rush to decorate the Woodruff Quad in their class colors (blue, yellow, red, or green). Each night brings a new event for the students to coordinate: class party days, trivia night, Hub sing, bonfire, Junior Production, and finally Black Cat Formal. Once again, these words might as well be foreign because no context will be given here! It is a week of great activity, fun, and an attempt to balance regular coursework along with campus festivities.
This year was my last bonfire. For proprietary and honorable reasons, I cannot disclose everything that happens at the bonfire. I’ll just say it gets crazy in the best way possible. My Scottie siblings surrounded me as we sang the same school songs we had been learning since our first year- All hail to the first years and may they G-E-T jobs! Don’t let a sober senior in because we’re the tiddly-tots! It was like releasing a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. This is it. I am graduating in less than a year.
I screamed louder than I ever have. I am leaving. I am free; I will be free. I’ll miss this. I’ll miss you. I’ll miss us.
I felt the warmth from my Scottie siblings and realized I would probably never get this feeling again. For all the complaints I have, for all the longs nights, for all the friends made and lost, I thank this school. I sang that night; I sang for the love for my chosen family, the struggles we endured together, and the bond that we have that no one can take from us- unless they’re willing to pay off all the loans it took to get to this place.
That night brought tears and solemness, but more importantly, it brought clarity.