As a fresher I was getting used to hearing about all these traditions and events St. Andrews had but that I would have to wait another year to experience, so when the idea of May Dip actually happening came around, I was looking forward to it immensely. I had heard a lot about May Dip, how the whole university gathered on the beach to run in the sea at some awful hour. Naturally, I worried that with Covid it would not be the same. I stayed up nonetheless. As the clock reached 3 am, the excitement started to become dread as all I could think about was the coldness, telling myself that next year I will be accustomed, it will be easier, and it is an age-old tradition.
As I walked over the hill of east sands the amber hue of bonfires hit me, paired with the rising sun, and made the grogginess I would feel at 8 am all worth it. Everything seemed magical but that could be explained by tiredness, alcohol, and the joy at actually seeing a St. Andrews tradition first-hand, something that seemed near impossible just three months ago. It makes one look forward even more to next year when St. Andrews, and thus May dip, is at full capacity and the phrase “covid regulations” is a faint memory.
Running in the sea felt strangely exhilarating. It definitely was not the first time I had ran into the freezing cold sea but there was something about the sunrise and hundreds of others doing the exact same thing that just made it a bit different. So much so that I ended up running in about four times, (and not due to the intensity of my academic sins).
I think my best piece of advice from May Dip is warm layers, having spent many years of my life feeling underprepared for situations, I now seem to always be overprepared. I had the joggers, a jumper, my warmest dressing gown, and a towel, meaning I was nothing short of toastie the minute I knew I was not going back in. And whilst I did lose a fluffy sock leaving one foot numb and me waiting five minutes before I could put my sandal on my foot, I was probably still the warmest of my friends.
However, I still ran straight in the shower the minute I hit Mcintosh, by which time it was about 7 am. So instead of just going straight to bed, we decided to get breakfast as halls started serving at 8:15. Not sure how to pass the time, as holding a conversation seemed beyond our capabilities at that point, we channeled our inner thirteen-year-olds and three of us set in bed watching Angus, Thongs, and Perfect snogging. Although two of us briefly shut our eyes, we made it to breakfast, where I devoured three hash browns, baked beans, and a bagel, followed immediately by my bed. To briefly flit into consciousness at midday, after which I heard a faint knocking followed by “it’s Olivia” as I glanced up at my clock and saw that it was 6 pm and Olivia had come to wake me up for dinner. Rather mortified yet oddly proud, I went to dinner, happy to have caught up on sleep and feeling like May Dip had been successfully accomplished.