I am a light sleeper, so it’s normal for me to wake up in the middle of the night. This time though, it was not just an oddity of the night…
It was a Monday morning, and I just spent the Sunday before preparing for the week ahead. I went to bed dreading the busy day to come, Monday’s are my most packed day of the week. I sleep next to the window in my apartment. This means I can hear everything outside. When I opened my eyes that morning, I was confused. Instead of morning birds chirping, there were…air horns? And celebration yelling?
I quickly realized these were all the signs of Mountain Day, but Mountain Day NEVER happens on a Monday! Or at least we thought. I glanced at my phone; it was 5:30am, about the time they announce Mountain Day. My phone buzzed with excitement from group chats, texts, and various social media. I texted some alums to wish them a “Happy Mountain Day”, something we like to do to make them envious because they still had to adhere to their daily requirements.
There’s nothing quite like having class cancelled, but Mountain Day is the epitome of cancelled classes. This annual tradition is one of my favorites and began in the late 1880s. On this day, classes are cancelled with no prior notice.
The saying on campus is “Mountain Day is always tomorrow”. Students will try to guess when it will be and professors to join in on the game too. Some might be more confident than they should be and wake up for class realizing that it isn’t Mountain Day AND that they didn’t do their homework.
On Mountain Day, students are given the opportunity to spend the day at Raystown Lake to enjoy a picnic, swimming, water sports, crafts, yard games, and inflatables. There are usually surprise raffles and treats. This year we had FREE Rita’s Italian Ice!
The scenery is picturesque. Hammocks swing from trees, laughter roars from the waterside, students are falling off kayaks, and speakers sing anthems of a fun day. My favorite part is that faculty and staff are invited. Professors engage in conversation with barefoot students, who insist on petting every dog in sight.
After lunch, each class battles in tug-o-war until the strongest group takes on the faculty and staff. In the finale, we brought in many seniors who were nervous to join but were persuaded by our camaraderie; we barely had enough rope for everyone to hold on. As a proud member of the class of 2020, I would like to announce that we won!
This year, Mountain Day was a total surprise for me and many others. It was a great day with the Juniata community including faculty, staff, and students.
Only Juniatians really understand the magic of Mountain Day, everyone else is just insanely jealous because they want their classes cancelled.
But this day is much more than that.
-Stephanie Letourneau ’20, Environmental Science POE, dimpled, outdoor loving, MD girl