Undergraduate Admissions

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Fake Ditch Day

So I did this weird thing the other night…I went to sleep early, because I was feeling a little tired. I was asleep before midnight (gasp!), and my alarm was set for 9 (because if I sleep infinity hours on a school night my sleep schedule gets very messed up).

Turns out that I didn’t need to bother with the alarm because at 8 am on the dot I was woken by the cries of the seniors yelling, "WAKE UP FROSH IT’S DITCH DAY!"

For anyone who isn’t aware, Ditch Day is the hallowed Caltech version of Senior Skip Day. Back in the days of yore, seniors would skip class. This would make the underclassmen very upset, because they were still in class. So, to take their revenge, underclassmen would break into the seniors’ rooms and prank them in some way. Seniors, then, to avoid having to clean up 400 small paper cups of water senior spring, started blockading their doors. The more common technique would be to stack an obstacle–like bricks–in front of your door. Underclassmen responded with pickaxes.

Ditch Day has evolved today to a less destructive, more creative form. Seniors spend varying amounts of time (i.e. all of spring term, of all of senior year, or random day dreams from the day they receive their admissions packet) setting up these elaborate treasure hunt/scavenger hunt/puzzle-type things. On Ditch Day (which is always tomorrow), underclassmen sign up for one of these ‘stacks’ and spend the day (an Institute Holiday!) completing their puzzle. It’s always a lot of fun–you see students wandering around all day in matching shirts, overcoming bizarre obstacles, and just enjoying what the seniors have put together.

But it was Ditch Day! So I ran around the house and found a perfect stack:

We signed up as various characters. I was Dory…I think…

Our first clue was accompanied by a highly detailed map.

Which led to our second clue…

And first obstacle.

Getting five goldfish over the jellyfish-filled abyss into the plastic cup. Needless to say, many poor fish were sacrificed in our pursuit of our goal.
Then we were led to our next stop…

So, in conclusion…