Tales From The Tent: Day 4/5-Into The Storm

My fellow Crazies, after a long wait it is finally that time of year- it’s tenting season. I will be bringing you a step by step account of my tenting experience for the next six weeks to give you an inside look at the most sacred tradition at Duke University- tenting.

5 days down
36 to go
12 first year students
1 dream

As we neared the end of our first week in K-Ville, things were going smoothly. In fact, we soon found out that things were going a bit too well. Our first week, for the mostpart went exactly as planned. Our schedule was well organized, people were on time for their shifts, it was the model of the perfect tent we had set out to create. That however, would soon all change, and things would get much more complicated very quickly.

Where to begin…it was Thursday night and a group of us went about our typical nighttime routine. We set up in the tent around 2:30 a.m. (which is when night starts on Thursday) and prepared to get some sleep. As soon as we were finishing our setup, we heard the familiar drone of a tent check siren. We went out to the sidewalk and passed the check, and received grace until 4:00. As the rest of my group went back to the tent, I had one of those moments where you suddenly realize how awake you are and needed to kill some time. So I went with some friends to one of the 24-hour eateries on campus to grab a snack as the rest of my tent called it a night. After arriving back just before the end of grace and realizing I had class in about six hours, I figured it was time for me to get some sleep as well.

Turns out I didn’t get to sleep for very long. It was a balmy night- the temperature did not dip below 60 degrees- but as I slept a large storm moved into the area. My sleep was interrupted around 6:45 by the howling wind and the driving rain. The wind, which I later discovered had gusted up to 40 mph overnight, had knocked the obscenely large tarp off of our tent. It hadn’t just blown away- the wind ripped the tarp out of the ground. The wind was coming from my corner of the tent and had dislodged one of our stakes, causing that corner to cave in a bit. And by cave in a bit, I mean when the storm woke me up the ceiling of the tent was touching my face. After a few chaotic minutes trying to stabilize the tent and fathom how fast the wind was blowing, we had to go outside to straighten the issue out. After examining the aftermath of the storm in the morning, we were able to fix the tarp and reinforce it.

Little did we know, that was not the worst storm we would encounter that day. When we woke up on Friday morning, we knew there were changes that needed to be made across the board. At the beginning of the semester, most of the members of the tent entered the fraternity and sorority rush process. Tenting started on the night we received our bids, and six of our group members accepted fraternity bids, while two girls accepted sorority bids. A note on greek life at Duke- it is more or less considered common knowledge that tenting and pledging are not meant to be done at the same time. For the sake of argument, let’s not call what sororities do after they extend bids “pledging”, but for the six of us it meant that on top of this huge time commitment of tenting, we were going to be incurring another large time commitment with pledging. To make matters more complicated, four of us are pledging the same fraternity.

The pledging process contributed to our tent’s first casualty of the season. Don’t worry, nobody died, but one of our members decided that he would not be able to tent and pledge at the same time, so we were forced to replace him. We added another girl from Giles as our 12th member, but were still presented many challenges by the pledging process. For those of you that have never pledged a fraternity before, most of what you during pledging is essentially unannounced- we have no idea when we’ll be called upon to do something, day or night. This does not lend itself well to making similarly unscheduled tent checks throughout the day and night.

So we called our weekly meeting to sort this whole mess out. First thing was first, we had to reassign my roommate’s old slots and work our newest member into the schedule. Then came the hard part- we had to rework the schedule so that the pledges could avoid as many nights in the tent as possible. There’s no worse scenario than having as many as four of us sleeping in the tent one night and getting called out to perform a task. This would put our tent in serious jeopardy of missing checks, and that would not be fair to the rest of our tent members.

Luckily for us, many of the brothers in the fraternity we were pledging are enduring the tenting process as well. They have been throw both tenting and pledging before, and understood the types of time commitments we were about to make. So we were able to get some leniency from them, and were able to negotiate two nights of each week where we knew we could not be called.On those nights all four of us would sleep in the tent, which would leave each of the other members four nights apiece for the week. In exchange for this arrangement, the four of us were forced to pick up additional daytime hours to make up for the nights we would not be able to sleep.

At this point in time, the prospect of pledging and tenting at the same time was quite intimidating. All 12 of us were making sacrifices, but we also all had to balancing tenting with greek lives, social lives, and even school (we do tend to have classes every once in a while). But we all set out to tent with a goal in mind, and we were taking steps to assure we accomplished that. When the week’s schedule had been figured out, we all went our separate ways. It was a Friday night, after all.

Note: I apologize for falling behind on my tenting diaries, and assure you there is a very good reason for it. This will all be explained in my next post, and I will be catching you up over the next few days.

Be sure to check out the rest of Dan’s tenting diary! Links galore below:

Pre-tenting: It Begins
Day 1: Welcome to K-Ville
Day 2: From Dusk ‘Til Dawn
Day 4/5: Into The Storm
Day 7: Losing Momentum
Day 9: The Other Side of Duke Basketball
Day 12/13/14: You Win Some, You Lose Some
Day 15: The First Taste
Day 18: Insanity
Day 26: When One Comeback Isn’t Enough
Day 29/30: I’ve Been Dreaming Of A White Tenting
Day 35/36: Taking Out The Trash
Day 40: It Gets Personal
Day 41: One Force, One Fight
Day 42: Go To Hell Carolina