Doghead Diaries: Seniors Reflect from the steps

By Hannah Schafer

Contributing Writer

“Remember this always: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You know, actually, write that shit on your arm.”

A senior girl with a foam goldfish helmet grabbed my hand and scribbled the famous mantra across my forearm in green sharpie.

“Be free, freshman!!” She yelled as I watched her stumble out of the Taylor fourth floor bathroom and, marinating in a mix of admiration and terror, proceeded to press children’s temporary tattoos onto my cheeks.

Now, three years later, I’m sitting on my couch in the senior apartments in the wake of the most glorious holiday of them all. My Natty Light t-shirt remains covered in green sparkles, and the devoured Jin Yuan on the coffee table looks a little like the devil reincarnated. Party sludge coats our floors, and green-beer-soaked streamers lay in a pile atop the trashcan. I keep finding UPIs (unidentified party injuries) all over my body, battle wounds of the good fight we know and love as Doghead.

This Doghead was the greatest ever. Yes, I’m a senior, so my reflections of the ridiculous holiday are obviously romanticized. I could go on forever about why this Doghead topped all the rest, but to encapsulate the wild ride, I will sum up the best parts. None of my friends got hurt or sick; I got to indulge in every single vice I’ve ever had; I popped champagne in front of a Maine sunrise surrounded by the people I love, on the steps of the building where I’ve learned so much about myself and the world. What more does one want? I met new people, danced my ass off, and evaded a serious hangover with the help of vitamin B12 and numerous Pedialyte chugs (seriously, shit works).

So, why does this holiday make me so happy? Doghead is undoubtedly the single most unifying and unique tradition on campus. The majority of students come together under one single goal: reaching the steps at sunrise. Alumni send us their best wishes, and our friends from outside Colby make the less-than convenient trip to Waterville to join us in celebration. And now, with Campus Life’s awesome programming efforts, more of our peers have opportunities to have fun as well. Doghead is a team effort; it’s inclusive and celebratory and distinctly ours. And yet, despite all the goldfish and green beer and camaraderie, I’m honestly embarrassed to admit that I feel most connected with other members of this community during this drinking marathon.

We are all aware of the recent tense climate on campus, and if we are wondering how to mend our fractured community, wondering how violence and hate permeate our institution of top intellectuals, then maybe we should focus on what we do cherish on campus, instead of what we condemn to find our community’s shortcomings.

By identifying what we actually value in practice, as opposed to what we say we do in theory, we can finally take an honest and critical look at our institution. Quite frankly, we need to wake the fuck up, people. Because if our students, my Doghead-worshipping self included, feel that the most unifying celebration at Colby is a marathon-drinking holiday, then we should reflect on our priorities as a college striving for a legitimate, and authentic, community. Let’s think critically about why Doghead brings us together and what it gives to our collective experience, because there is no better feeling than watching that sunrise with the people we love at the college that brought us together.

By Hannah Macquarrie

Contributing Writer

This past weekend I experienced the last Doghead of my Colby career. It was probably bittersweet and undeniably full of fun times with my best friends and hundreds of my peers. We dressed up in green and frolicked around campus together, swallowing fish, swing dancing, and dodging vomit in the apartment hallways. We sang “Work” by Rihanna too many times and still don’t know what she’s saying, we lost track of time and pushed through the night until the night turned into morning when we ran from every corner of campus to congregate on Miller’s steps. We inhaled crisp morning air clouded with cigar smoke, watched fireworks explode over the quad and chanted U-S-A, and probably COL-BY COL-LEGE, too. Somewhere along the way, the sun rose above the trees in the distance, we snapped the necessary photos—majestically drunk and terribly happy—and we ran to Dana to stuff breakfast into our abused bodies.

What. A. Night. Or at least it was for me: Doghead has been one of my favorite Colby traditions since freshman year. Nothing brings friends closer to one another than depriving yourselves of sleep, drinking too much alcohol, wearing too much green, and making so many new friends, but forgetting too many names. Well actually, plenty of things do. But, the reason why I care about Doghead is the same reason why we should all care about Doghead: it is one of the few times all year that this campus feels like a tight-knit community. Now, before going any further, let me just say that of course I know that not all Colby students participate in Doghead, and of course I know that not all students at Colby participate in the weekend drinking culture and may even wish it didn’t exist at all, but that’s not the point. Actually, the point is that I wish the sense of community that fills the air on Doghead could be present on evenings that aren’t dedicated to an all-night marathon of drinking.

With that being said, do I love the way it feels to stand on the steps in the morning, watching the sunrise and shouting along cheers with the masses? Absolutely. I love the way that everyone participating, at once, seems to be happy—happy to be on the steps, happy to be together, and happy to be at Colby.

Colby has been a special place for me over the past four years: I consider myself lucky to be here and I will always be proud to tell people that Colby is where I earned my undergraduate degree. No, I don’t feel this way solely because of Doghead, but I do feel this way because of how Doghead has forced me, year after year, to recognize the potential of our community.

By Sara Kaplan

Copy Editor

There’s something about being a senior that makes everything I do feel nostalgic, specifically during this semester. Whether I’m eating a grilled cheese in Foss, or having coffee with a professor, it’s impossible to escape that voice freaking out in the back of my head wondering is this the last time I will ever do this??

As our college’s coveted Doghead quickly approached, this voice continued to grow louder every day because as much as I hated to admitted it, I knew: Yes, yes this is my last Doghead

Going into Friday night my friends and I didn’t want talk about this; the sad fact that we didn’t to admit but were all fully aware of.  No one wanted to be the emotional downer to bring it up, no one wanted to ruin the moment, but our collective thoughts loomed densely in the air.

And so, in a stroke of genius, we simply decided to say fuck it.

Fuck nostalgia, the voices in the back of all our heads all communally cried out, fuck the past and celebrate the present and the future.

And we did.

Instead of drawing our sorrows over the end of a cherished night, we cheered to our friends who already have jobs, and talked about future traditions we could hold in the real world. We had an amazing time that night, not because we felt sentimental for the past and the college we will soon be leaving behind, but because we agreed to look forward together to the future. We made sure to be present in the moment, not to make memories to look back on in months and miss, but because we owe it to ourselves to live in now instead of wallowing in the past.