Many different people have many different takes on Dakota Days. Some see it as a time to party all day (or week). Others see it as unfettered chaos, a disruption to their school life.
I think both views have legitimate claims. I, for one, take a slightly different approach.
Last year I didn’t do much during D-Days: I went to a barn dance, messed around with some friends and went to the football game. This year is looking to be packed with events.
It was good fun. I like D-Days, but I like for a slightly more nuanced reason.
Underneath all the alcohol and all the partying something goes on: growing up, becoming a member of a community and exploring one’s self. That’s a strange thing to say in the context of what’s basically a week-long party. But I met people last year who are still my friends now.
Had I decided to stay in the library instead of having a little fun on Friday night, I wouldn’t have met these fine individuals. I made connections with people who I would not have otherwise.
But there’s more. After Dakota Days, I distinctly remember feeling more like this was a home for me.
While it pains me to say this, I actually took a bit of joy in saying “Happy D-Days!” I viciously defend USD to my Jackrabbit family, even more so than before.
D-Days, I can safely say, had a part in this change. There are many reasons why, although I couldn’t name them all. Experiencing new things, growing up with new friends, has something to do with it.
Exploring some perhaps dark things is probably another. At the very least, engaging in the century-old tradition is almost a mark of passage. The Coyote spirit, once tapped in to, isn’t soon lost.
Either way, D-Days is exciting, and to experience it is to become part of the USD community. Everyone has a D-Day’s story. Ask any alumni about their D-Days experience, and chances are it’ll be a hilarious conversation that lasts a couple hours.
To be a college student, even a successful one, doesn’t simply mean constant studying in the library. Part of growing up and enjoying life means leaving the library and trying something new. And no, that doesn’t mean go drink. There are plenty of ways to enjoy D-Days which have no attachment to alcohol.
Becoming part of the community, meeting new people and finding out something new about yourself are all important to a fulfilling college experience. Dakota Days is a great way to do all three.