My past LDOCs are something of a mixed bag, full of everything from early morning mixed drinks to wholesome movie nights. There have been sunburns and stubbed toes, naps taken directly on Abele Quad, lost Duke Cards, dropped cell phones and encounters with acquaintances I forgot or wished I could forget. It is a messy day; there’s no two ways about it. But it’s also a great day, and alas—I had the feeling that my last-ever last day of classes was going to be the best one yet.
That said, just like on campus, this LDOC still has the potential to be whatever we make it. You’ll need to be creative, but I think it’s possible to celebrate this sacred holiday from afar. Here, I offer some suggestions on how you can construct your own LDOC that is as authentic to the original as possible. A hidden silver lining of online classes is that you can do most of these activities while still on Zoom. Get at it—and happy LDOC.
LDOC outfit: Just because you’ll be trapped inside with the same few people you see every day doesn’t mean you can’t put on your LDOC best! I know I will be wearing an outfit that is inappropriate for both my high school dress code and the weather (it’s still snowing in New England). If you are stuck without your full college wardrobe, you may have to improvise—turns out you can make shirts out of the bandanas you haven’t already turned into face masks.
Day drinking: In this respect, LDOC might not actually be that different from a regular day in quarantine. To shake things up a bit, I recommend starting the day with a virtual group toast: best of luck working around time differences and class schedules. Even though you are at home, please remember that in order to remain true to the spirit of LDOC, you must drink out of an old plastic water bottle all day and carry no more than six cans of beer/White Claw at any one time. Luckily, you can easily restock from the fridge at any time—I’ll drink to that!
Snow cones: I found a recipe for these so that we don’t have to miss out on the one day a year anyone actually wants to eat a snow cone. Bring one cup each of water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar and let boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and add one Kool-Aid packet in your choice of flavor; stir until dissolved. Let cool. Thoroughly blend ice cubes in a high-powered blender until it resembles snow. Use an ice cream scoop to shape ice into a sphere, then place in a bowl or paper cone and pour Kool-Aid syrup on top. Enjoy and try not to cry while imagining you’re on the sunny Chapel Quad with your friends, waiting in line for the Poetry Fox.
Miscellaneous outdoor activities: This one isn’t too hard to recreate at home. Take a group photo booth picture via Zoom. Bust out some random arts and crafts, like Shrinky Dinks or coloring books. Coerce your siblings, parents or roommates to play cornhole or Spikeball with you. If you’re feeling ambitious and/or incredibly desperate for entertainment, attempt a self-portrait out of pancake batter dyed with food coloring. As long as you fill your day with activities, surely you won’t be able to wallow in loneliness and nostalgia, right? Right?
Dinner: By late afternoon, you should be a little hungover and a lot hungry. Before you rally for the evening festivities, go get some carb- and protein-heavy, fruit- and vegetable-weak sustenance. Sadly, whatever you make at home will never equal Penn Pavilion BBQ, Krafthouse hot dogs or anything from Gussy’s food truck, but do your best. As Duke administration obviously believed as they wrote any emails they’ve sent to the student body in the past month, it’s the thought that counts.
Concert: Open Spotify. Search for a genre of music that you never intentionally listen to. Select a playlist at random and play it at full volume for several hours. This will ensure you an authentic LDOC concert experience by guaranteeing that you only listen to artists you have never heard of and songs you do not know. Look up pictures of the basketball team or all the individuals who have ever ghosted you to recreate the panicky, thrilling experience of dancing near them in the crowd. If you feel like you’re missing something, lay in bed with all your covers on to mimic the sweaty claustrophobia that usually creeps in around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.
Midnight pizza: You’ll probably be pretty hungry after a full day of trying and failing to distract yourself from the homesickness and melancholy of missing LDOC. But I know this to be true: nothing can fill the void inside like pizza can. I don’t care if you order Dominos with contactless delivery, cook a frozen DiGiorno or make an English muffin pizza in your toaster oven—somehow, you just have to eat some cheesy carbs. It’s basically an LDOC law.
However you celebrate this day, I hope you have fun, stay safe and remain six feet apart from everyone at all times. Personally, I intend to start with a mimosa precisely at 9:00 a.m. so I have time for a full day of despondent moping before crying myself to sleep looking at photos from previous LDOCs. Cheers!
Gretchen Wright is a Trinity senior who wishes everyone a happy and healthy LDOC with only a few self-pitying tears. Her column, “Cameron Cravings,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.
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