Jessica Yin reflects on Raisin through the eyes of an academic mum and tells us why our traditions are worth the stress.


Being a mum is not easy.

As if life weren’t complicated enough, children come along and suddenly you’re pre-occupied with keeping these troublesome creatures from drinking mysterious liquids or taking off their clothes.

Trying to keep up with these bundles of energy is equal parts impressive and exhausting. Somehow, they manage to stay up all night, run around all day –and are still up for doing it all over again the following evening. This ridiculous urge to save them from the harsh St Andrews wind overcomes you. But most of all, you’re jealous of their uncorrupted livers and how weak their hangovers will be in comparison to yours.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to academic parenthood.

Going into third year, I was terrified to adopt. By third year, you already have friends and it’s honestly been awhile since you’ve had to impress new people. It makes you self-conscious, as if you know these freshers are going to see right through your cool façade (and realize that you get 2am Dervish after leaving the library, not the Vic).

There’s a lot of pressure on academic parents, though it’s hard to tell if most of that comes from the kids or from the memory of our own parents. Everyone who has experienced Raisin knows that the experience varies depending on the effort put in by the parents and how much booze they make you consume. We’ve all heard stories of boring Raisins, and I was scared my kids would be among those disappointed on Monday morning.

What if I wasn’t fun enough to deliver on my promise of an amazing and slightly blurry weekend? What if I ran out of stories or conversation topics and people just sat in silence, feeling awkward? What if I ruined their one chance to participate in a 602-year-old tradition? What if they hate me for the rest of eternity?

As you can tell, I may have been a little dramatic in my panicking. However, traditions are sacred in this town. Everyone has their Raisin story and foam fight memories. My personal set of St Andrean traditions began at Opening Ball in first year. Every year since, a friend and I attend together because that’s where we met. As an American, I also love forcing all my Scottish friends to endure course after course of Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, and never-ending Turkey on Thanksgiving each year. I have vivid recollections of the freezing seawater hitting my stomach on May Dip in first year, and the smell of firewood in my hair from the bonfire we made in second year. Sometimes, in the mad scramble to meet those deadlines, we lose track of the amazing and eclectic group of people we’ve met throughout the years.

I introduced my kids to their dad and only cringed a few times as we sat around sharing stories about events they never witnessed but can now keep alive by telling the tale to their kids. The games I played this year with my children were inspired by the ones I enjoyed and loathed in equal part at my own Raisin.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 12.25.18 PM

I can only hope that I left them with some good laughs, a few unforgettable moments, and plenty of mercy for next year’s Raisin revenge. For all my panicking, I really enjoyed Raisin and now have a whole new family to create traditions with –and that’s worth all the stress in the world.



Jessica Yin



Photos by Jessica Yin