When the Saturday of the black & white themed first year’s dance rolled around, the corridors of Irene were a hive of activity: the sound of slamming doors, hairdryers and music vibrated through the passages as the girls got ready and got pumped.
Lynel and I decided to take our dates on a leisurely walk down to the Neelsie. In retrospect, this wasn’t as good an idea as it had seemed earlier that day. The wind was blowing harder than the “Big Bad Wolf” and the pathway was treacherous with uneven bricks, waiting to trip up a girl in heels.
In the end we made it to the Neelsie without incident (although I did keep an iron grip on my date’s arm the entire way there). We were greeted by the faces of our peers and our HK. There was laughter in the air and I felt it was “gonna be a good night”…and a good night it was!
The food was tasty, the wine was flowing, the music was pretty darn good and the conversation was interesting – a great night, as I’d predicted, but none of these things were the highlight of my evening.
The highlight was when those first few bars of what has been dubbed the “Irene Song” began to play and all the girls, first years, HK and 2nd year’s committee – every girl in the vicinity, rushed onto the dance floor, linked arms and began to sing the lines we’ve come to know so well.
It was at this point that I took a moment to reflect on the journey we’d taken to get to where we are now. A mere 3 months ago we were petrified outsiders taking our first tentative steps towards our futures, scared silly by the HK and feeling like we’d never fit in. There we were: arms linked, singing at the top of our lungs, hearts brimming with love for our new-found friends, our HK and Irene – the place we now proudly call home.
I think I can call the night a raging success. It was a night of bonding, laughter and realisations. We strengthened bonds with those we knew and formed new bonds with those we didn’t. We laughed at failed attempts to sokkie, quirky dance moves and bad jokes and then realised that we’re part of a family…and that our HK are actually nice people under their JOOL-time poker faces.
We left the dance and headed back to Irene (squashed into the back of a car because we were too chicken to brave the icy walk home). We finished the night off with a cup of hot coffee on the steps of Irene with our dates and it was the perfect end to an amazing night!
I want to say a big thank you to all those involved in organising the dance and to our HK – for an amazing journey and the best JOOL anyone could ask for! To those who decided to give the dance a skip…I can safely say you missed out on something very special.
Written by: Giuliana Figenschou