The Night Before 21F: A Poetic Guide
A festive tale with a side of Dartmouth lingo.
This article is featured in the 2021 Freshman special issue.
’Twas the night before classes, the eve of 21F
The students were stirring, donning flair and bequests.
The ’25s, ’24s, ’22s and ’23s were nestled quite nicely on FFB,
Their heads, full of midterms, dreamt of finding the scene.
The GroupMe invites were sent out with care
In hopes that people would roll thru and be there.
When you had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
Your brain took a jolt from that coffee at Novack.
So you left the deafening silence of the Stacks
For swirling visions of choffee from the old days of KAF:
With a generous heap of DBA left to spend,
You dreamt of bacon-cheddar-chive scones, brie and apple on baguette bread.
Maybe a wink of Souleymane’s eye and being called a boss went to your head
but after a glance at the menu, you knew there was nothing to dread;
Collis Specials today meant pasta and garlic bread!
You spoke not a word, texted “Collis @ now”
And grabbed as many pastries as your meal plan allowed.
In a twinkling, you heard echoes in Blobby & exchanged glances,
With that facetime-y floormate you matched with on Last Chances.
You think they are cute, but don’t have their digits
So you take out your laptop and draft up a flitz.
Laying a finger on your phone for Duo to authenticate,
A swift nod of the head, you access Canvas at a steady rate
For your layup is easy, almost a little sus
You check with some friends, just in case, to discuss.
You feel a bit ragey, so off your fit goes — your Bean Boots,
Patagonia, flannel, and Canada Goose
After getting on table for pong; a sink, hit and a save
You’re still dressed from tails as you walk to the rave.
But as you yum-yummed your mozz sticks, and turned around,
Blazing down Tuck Drive, the Sun God! came with a bound.
He was dressed in all black from his head to his foot,
Masked and winged, blasting music as loud as he could.
When coming from the street, there arose such a clatter,
You sprang from your woccom to see what was the matter.
Away to the River you flew like a flash,
Said soz to your pong partner and threw up the sash.
The moonlight of the on-night on the water below,
Gave a lustre of midday, even more than a droco,
When what! to your wondering eyes did appear,
The bells struck one, it was morning, you feared
But under the street lamps of the trusty old bridge,
Spurred eight sprinting nudists, and you knew what they’d managed —
they must have attempted the Ledyard Challenge.
Rapid as Hanlon’s COVID updates they came,
They whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
Now, Bema! The Stacks! The Dartmouth Seven!
Not here being endorsed, but lore at your discretion!
To the Top of the Hop! To the lawn of the Pres’!
The Fifty Yard Line! The Green! The Steps! It’s what tradition says!
In the early dawn you meet the hills for a sunrike;
After a CVS run, you pick up friends: NARPs and athletes alike
The prancing and pawing of each dirtied white shoe
Sticky Keystone film enveloping each, once new.
And within the span of a couple more hours
You hear the bells of Baker Tower.
You get a blitz, it reads urgent, “What is the move?”
When the clock strikes 7, you get breakfast at Lou’s.
When you’ve come back from your Trips, seen some flair and the lodj
Grab some shoes and your fracket, and the rest of your shmob
Take a dip, take a sunsike, meet at late night with friends
Because before you know it, 21F will come to an end
May your days go by quickly, but let time trickle slow
Like the leaves that turn red and cold maple syrup that flows.
Echoing through the fog of the crisp September night
You hear a voice cry out in the wilderness, and you look up in fright,
You hear it exclaim, ’ere it wasn’t in sight —
“Happy 21F to all, and to all a good night!"
21F: Abbreviation of a term at Dartmouth. Refer to a term by its year, followed by the season (F/W/S/X for fall, winter, spring and summer).
’25s, ’24s, ’23s ’22s, etc: Students are referred to by their original year of graduation rather than sophomore, junior, etc.
@ now: Right now. Typically used to get people to come to an event or activity quickly.
Bean Boots: L.L. Bean Boots, or Duck Boots, an all-purpose weatherproof boot commonly worn around campus.
Bema: Big Empty Meeting Area. A woodsy amphitheatre located behind Shattuck Observatory. Part of the Dartmouth Seven. Great for stargazing.
Bequests: Clothing, flair, tasks or titles passed down from graduating seniors to younger students.
Blitz: An email, formerly the name of Dartmouth’s server. On Blitz culture: Student clubs send out blitzes, characterized by GIFs, images, poetic verse, photos, colorful letters, and fonts, to the College’s listservs.
Blobby: The lobby of Baker Library, formally called Reiss Hall (but no one calls it that). Located under the Tower Room. Former home of KAF.
Canvas: Online communication platform used by professors to organize, communicate, and collect assignments.
Collis Specials: Daily lunch specials at Collis Cafe.
CVS: Drug store in Hanover that’s open 24 hours a day, making it a popular spot for late night runs for snacks or other supplies.
The Dartmouth Seven: An endeavor in which students have sex in seven conspicious locations on campus before graduation: The Top of the Hop (colorfully-lit top floor of the Hopkins Center for the Arts), the steps of Dartmouth Hall (currently under construction), the Green, the 50-yard line of Memorial Field (the gates which are locked from dusk to dawn), the Stacks, Bema and College President Phil Hanlon’s front lawn.
DBA: Dining Dollars, used in lieu of swipes.
Droco: Going to ’53 Commons drunk, typically after a darty or during Green Key.
Duo: Online authentication service that requires you to approve on your phone any time you log in to Dartmouth online programs.
DOSS: Department of Safety and Security, commonly known as SNS. Most commonly seen patrolling frat row, officers will be kinder to you if you refer to them as DOSS rather than SNS.
Facetime-y: Referring to someone normally found in Blobby, Novack, or FFB who is socially-savvy and thrives on talking to friends in a library setting but somehow also gets work done. Slowly phasing out of use.
FFB, 2FB, 3FB, 4FB: Short for first-floor Berry, second-floor Berry, etc.; refers to floors in Berry library. Floors become increasingly quiet as one goes up.
“Finding the scene”: Determining where to go and/or what to do, particularly on an on-night.
Flair: Your strangest, zaniest, loudest, brightest and most obnoxious fits or costumes. Onesies welcomed. Tutus tolerated. Neon embraced. Glitter glorified.
Flitz: Flirty blitz. It is normal to send flirty emails to fellow students, particularly when you don’t have their number, want to send a cute message to a crush or ask someone to Formal. Flitzing is an art! Don’t be lame. Make it funny, make it rhyme, make it colorful. If you want to send a friendly blitz, you can call it a fritz.
Foco: Short for food court, used to refer to the Class of 1953 Commons.
Fracket: Short for frat jacket, a cheap jacket worn when going out. They are easily stolen so frackets are traditionally tied together and hidden under couch cushions. You won’t want to walk home without your fracket in the winter.
‘Getting on table’: Getting a spot to play pong in a frat basement. People will ask “what’s line” to judge if it’s worth waiting for a spot, which can sometimes be hours.
KAF: Short for King Arthur Flour. A world-renowned bakery located in Norwich that used to have a location in the Baker-Berry Library but has recently closed. Beloved by students for its choffee (chocolate milk and coffee), pies and scones, especially those with extra DBA to spend. Changed name to King Arthur Baking Company in July 2020.
Keystone: The only acceptable beer for pong; tastes disgusting, but nobody will admit it.
Last Chances: Online matching website released every spring intended for graduating seniors to shoot their shot before graduation. Has evolved into a dating app/game for all classes.
Layup: A class known to be easy. See layuplist.com for a crowdsourcing of student course reviews and list of layups.
Ledyard Challenge: A Dartmouth tradition that requires skinny dipping across the river to Vermont, climbing the bank, and streaking the Ledyard Bridge on your way back to New Hampshire to pick up your clothes without getting caught by the police or Safety and Security. As legend has it, this tradition originated because Vermont allows public nudity but not disrobing, while New Hampshire allows disrobing but not public nudity.
Lodj: Short for the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, where in years past, First-Year Trips ended and large dinners are held. Not to be confused with “The Lodge,” a dormitory in the South House cluster.
Lou’s: Popular town diner and breakfast spot. Known for the Lou’s Challenge, which involves eating a Lou’s breakfast at the end of an all-nighter (typically after an on-night).
NARPs: Non Athletic Regular People.
On-nights: Nights of the week socially designated for going out. Traditionally Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as various holidays.
Pong: Dartmouth Pong, the unofficial sport of Dartmouth College. Players hit a ball back and forth with ping pong paddles with the handles broken off, attempting to “sink” it in the opponent’s cups. Not to be confused with the much lamer, mainstream beer pong you played in high school and that is played at other schools.
Ragey: A mood/personality trait associated with drinking, partying and pong.
Rave: A sweaty party with club music, a live DJ, dancing and strobe lights.
“roll thru”: Come over. Variation: “come thru.”
Shmob: Group of first-year students who walk and eat in a group or otherwise do everything together. Moving slowly and blocking paths, shmobs are part of the reason each first-year class is referred to as “the worst class ever.”
Sink, hit and a save: Terms associated with Dartmouth pong. Hitting the ball in the cup, hitting the rim or hitting the ball back into play after a hit. Results in the opponent drinking the entire cup, half, or none at all, respectively.
The Stacks: Where the books are kept in Baker-Berry. Known for its silence. Frowned upon if you talk in here. Part of the Dartmouth Seven.
Soz: Shorthand for sorry.
Souleymane: Dartmouth Dining employee beloved by the student body. Often calls students “boss.”
The Sun God: Mythical alumnus who walks around campus at night wearing a black cloak and mask, blasting a variety of music.
Sunrike/Sunsike: Sunrise or sunset hike, respectively.
Tails: Historically short for cocktails. Invite-only, themed Greek events before on nights open the spaces to campus.
Trips: Several days-long excursion into the wilderness of the Upper Valley that many first-year students go on before starting Orientation. Someone in your immediate Trips group is called a trippee.
‘What’s the move?’: Another way to ask, “What do we want to do now?”
Woccom: A mile-long walk around Occom Pond.
Yum-yum: To finish a certain amount of food in a short amount of time to get rid of it. Commonly used on Trips when food might go bad or people don’t want to carry it in packs.