The Spirit Stick

Being a teenager is all about being your loud and out of control self. It's about being proud of who you are and what you represent. Teenagedom is the time to discover what makes you unique and make that apparent with everyone you meet. Get ready for the most epic weekend story of the semester when my campus's IRA (the Residence Hall Assocation equivalent) traveled to our regional NEACURH conference. I live by the motto that literally everything is a competition, and the ultimate prize is the all time spirit stick. *Part 1 of 2 for the Mini's No Frills recap & the importance of spirit.



You know your weekend is about to be amazing when it starts on Friday morning. Sam and I packed up our stuff and loaded up in our classically sketchy white van with the rest of our IRA delegation including the sassy Erica, random Knight, hilarious Bret, ridiculous boy-Sam, and our diva for an adviser, Jilliene. We set off from Burlington, VT and before I knew it we were zooming through the boondocks, the bufu or the nowhereland known as Vermont. You know I passed out against the window just smearing my face against the glass of the back seat and soon we were in New Hampshire. Literal pit stop and we're back on the road. It's finally time for lunch and so we pull off and storm at Wendy's. The best thing about travelling in groups is the randomness of us all. Most of us get some of those Old Fashioned Burgers while the outliers scrounge for McDanks. We had that awkward moment when you bring opposing fast food chain food into another establishment. Oh my goodness, guess what, I used the public bathroom there as well (look at me cutting back on the elitism) and all of sudden we were flying through Connecticut, Massachusetts and into our destination of Rhode Island. We get out of our 12 passenger sketch-mobile (not Oscar-Meyer Weiner style) and check into the hotel. Boys in one room, girls in another and relax a little bit while we load up our nametag lanyards with UVM decorated clothespins (you trade with other delegations to make friends). Let me tell you the amount of just totally haphazard questions I asked in that like hour span might be a new record for my bouts of narcissism. The time had finally arrived. We crowded into the elevator and were herded onto a bus with complete strangers. The bus pulls out of the hotel parking lot and the craziness ensues. #NeverHaveIEver been more flabbergastedly surprised by pep in my entire life. Like a raging wall of sound, the cheering begins right then and there on the bus with 90's music sing alongs and shear passion. All of us from UVM are overwhelmed, like One Direction when beautiful girls flip their hair and it's off the bus and into the RIC (Rhode Island College) student union for the welcome ceremony. Just around 300 delegation members and their advisers total are yelping with joy when we walk in from like 30-40 different colleges/universities in the Northeast region of the US. I'm just like shocked, everybody is screaming their heads off to show off their moose pride (our mascot is Marty the Moose). Introductions are done from the amazing hosting conference staff and the Spirit Stick is officially presented to be up for grabs. I'm telling you at that moment the volume in that room could have literally broken glass, and it was exhilarating. My group for sure had to get all into the festivities and get over the initial amazement. Some rocking chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with all the toppings and the NEACURH Mini's "No Frills" (BTW, there's tons of frills) has begun. The spirit stick goes round and round, where stops no one knows, bring it.

It's into the campus auditorium where almost everyone is waiting for the hypnotist show to start. We trade some clothespins with our neighbors and observe truly how spirited everyone really is. I'm talking hardcore matching outfits, constant bright white smiles, and noises so loud it could shatter the sound barrier. The show begins and the crowd decides to make it rated R (no Rihanna, this has nothing to do with you). Volunteers are chosen and it's a good group and soon their all in a deep hypnotic sleep. This is hands down the best hypnotist show I've ever seen (check the video recap here - Conference Hypnotist), from the American Idol sing off, the N'Sync "Bye Bye Bye" synchronized boyband, the booty shaking, the penis chasing, dancing with a mop, aliens who wanted sex and the fart smelling it was literally the funniest thing ever. I literally cried with laughter, way too hilarious for anyone's good. From there, it was upstairs for the new delegate social sponsored by the spirited Northeastern University kids. We started with introductions using goldfish questions like superpowers, travelling and so on. We played the eye locking game and man did it create some super awkward moments. There were snacks, on snacks, on snacks like the intense bag of Swedish Fish and it was time to move on to the game room. Gigantic games of bouncy platform Twister, Connect Four and Jenga are played for keeps (#winning is everything; totes false). We make friends with the charming and hilarious delegation from Quinnipiac and oggle the hardcore pride that the Syracuse delegation has (they had freaking striped knee high socks, who can beat that). It's been a long day, and even longer night of swapping clothespins, making new friends, and trying to get the spirit stick. Most embarrassing moment of the day, having the spirit stick come into the social room and me, single-handedly, flipping the freak out yelling like a mad-man alone, while everyone else realized it wasn't time for it to be given up yet. We catch a bus back to campus and discuss twitter #hastags and meet one the nicest kids ever. Wings Over Providence for a late night dinner and we recollect the madness of a day for a kind of debriefing of sorts. We know we're going to have to bring it on, all day long if we have any hope of winning the spirit stick. I'm pretentious as eff (as you all know, JK not really, but seriously - quite possibly) so I sleep in my own bed like the little prince that I am after a late night shower. Hotel bathrooms, woot woot.




The whole sleeping for like 4 hours thing might be getting kind of old, uhm not. I wake up Saturday morning at 6:30am to whispering sounds of Knight and boy-Sam seeing if I'm awake. I get dressed in Mardi Gras, scratch that "Marty Gras" gear with suspenders and beads before meeting the girls, Sam, Eric and Bret in the lobby. We're about to catch the bus back to RIC when Jilliene calls me out for my ashy elbows (truth be told, I was looking a little bit of a mess with those marrow white things). The gracious bus driver supplies me with some lotion and I'm good to go (#blackpeopleproblems) as we head into breakfast. Let's just saw that the morning food was less than desirable, but it's the effort that counts and serving a shat ton of people is difficult work. All of us come in with an attitude of already being over the cheering (quote of the morn, Erica with "If anyone gets in my face and starts cheering this morning, I'm going to tell them just no") but get real nothing can keep us down. The cheers start popping out of everyone everywhere and schools start calling other schools out. We made friends with the QU chicas so when they have the cheer power then send it on over to us where I just explode with cheer-motivation. Then comes the passing of the spirit stick, and y'all know it's been my weekend goal to get that thing so I put my mad hops to work jumping and screaming my loudest. I'm knocking bells everywhere but who cares, I'm winning the spirit stick like it's my job and low and behold victory comes. Everyone present might have been staring at me, but in that "you might be crazy, but we love you anyway" kind of way. You know I went straight cray and flipped out when we actually got the spirit stick, finally our hard work paid off. I turn around and realize the rest of my delegation is just geeking out hardcore, and I'm yet agai the only one who yelled for us, fail. Breakfast ends and we have our keynote speaker, Gabrielle Abbate who represents MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) in Rhode Island who really moved all of us. The heartbreaking stories she told were powerful, and she was also pretty funny herself and fit right in. More cheers go down and the rest of us left mingle with the UCONN, Syracuse and QU delegations and take silly photo booth pictures. Let's just saw we're totally loving life. Half an hour later, it's time for us to pass on the spirit stick and you know we passed it to our new bffs, QU. The spirit stick has been passed, come and get it.




Being a teenager is all about staying true to yourself no matter who you're around. As you can tell from this post, I'm constantly a mess - it's like my life's work, but it's also one of my favorite things about myself. Going to regionals was just a wake up call to how awesome my life truly is and how much better it can be. You just gotta do you, and as my delegation member friends would say (with a hashtag drawn in the air) #YOLO (You Only Live Once). We're holding on to the spirit stick, no matter what.


My blog post question for the day is ... what's your favorite cheer? I'm really partial to the "Be Aggressive" cheer, it's just so catchy and gives me that boost of passion that I need to keep up the perpetual #winning streak known as my life.

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