The soaking is a tradition to celebrate the end of a students academic career at St Andrews. Final year students are greeted with water (and sometimes glitter!) outside of their final ever undergraduate exam. Friends and academic family soak the student in order to wash him/her of their academic responsibilities. Traditionally done with champagne, it’s now illegal to have open bottles of alcohol on the streets of St Andrews. Thus, glitter and water are the defaults choices.
On the Evening before May Dip, St Andrews students walk down the Pier to commemorate student John Honey. In 1800, Honey risked his life in order to rescue five seamen from their wrecked ship during a storm. Students gather at Younger Hall wearing academic gowns and receive torches for the walk.
At sunrise on May 1st, students gather at East Sands to jump into the North Sea! The tradition is said to “wash away” your academic sins, preparing you with good luck on your exams. With temperatures near freezing, be sure to bring a warm sweatshirt for after!
In this tradition, older students (generally second year medics or third year students) adopt first year students (as well as second year WaMStAs and study abroad kids) to be their “children”. It offers an informal mentorship scheme and often includes family outings, family dinners, and academic siblings (or cousins!). This mentoring is a great way for students to meet new people, form a support system, and develop friendships that will last far beyond their time at St Andrews.
Raisin Weekend is the big event for these academic families. Generally in late October or early November, parents host a day (Saturday) of family bonding which usually includes food and drinks, silly games, pranks, and more. On Raisin Monday, mothers dress their children in ridiculous costumes, and fathers give their children strange objects – called “Raisin Receipts” – to bring to the shaving foam fight held in St Salvator’s Quad!