When getting ready with my friends, I was a little nervous about what the night held for me- would Gala hold up to my expectations? Would it be the “best dance Bates holds” and would it be when I “peaked” in my Bates Career? (Although that being said, it’d definitely be a little early to peak in my Bates career.) Going in, I had such high expectations, so what if Gala did not live up to the labels that it had accrued when I had talked to the upperclassmen? However, when reflecting on my first Gala experience, I can honestly say that it lived up to the hype that was given to me by the older students on campus. Glitz, glamour, insanely delicious food, a live band.. There was even a windmill (apparently, although I didn’t notice it) to top it off. What more could a freshman girl like me dream of?
I got to my best friend’s room with a group of girls around 7:00, ready to do my hair and makeup and choose between my dress options. Since my previous take on Gala, my mom had shipped me up two other options to wear (and yes, total groundbreaking idea for Gala- they were all black dresses), so I was ready and prepared with options to wear. We spent the next hour and a half getting ready, doing each others’ makeup and hair, while also discussing what we wanted to see at Gala. Some looked forward to the food that awaited, some looked forward to the decorations, and others looked forward to the band. I personally looked forward to all of the above, but especially the band.
I was confident going in, as I thought that my ballroom dancing past would immediately kick in and aid in my swing-dancing efforts. Little did I know that taking dancing lessons and being able to do the foxtrot in fifth grade does not translate to being able to actually dance well as a freshman in college. Being as uncoordinated as I am, I can barely dance in a normal setting without making an absolute fool of myself so I was going in with foolish expectations. However, the one thing that I did not think of was that many people there had never swing-danced or ballroom danced before, which made the environment way more lax. I had so much fun swinging/getting swung around the dance floor by my friends throughout the night that my lack of coordination was nearly forgotten until I accidentally almost knocked into someone carrying a plate stacked with chocolate strawberries.
Besides my obnoxious dancing, there was one thing that made my Gala experience unique to that of many other previous freshman and current freshman- the arrival of my best friend’s father. Having never met Hannah’s father before, I was both excited to meet him and nervous- meeting the parents, whether as a significant other or good friend, is always a big deal. You want to make a good impression on them, so that way they think that you’re a decent influence. To share such a monumental experience (my first Gala), with such another big experience such as meeting the parents of a friend made my first Gala nearly unforgettable.
Overall, it seems that many freshman had a similar first Gala experience. In the days following, my friends recounted tales of getting “chocolate strawberries that tasted like Jesus himself made them”, the “insanely good chicken and red velvet cake pops”, the “decorations and general ambiance that completely transformed the Cage”, and the “incredible music by the Swing band”. I cannot wait till the next Gala that Bates hosts and to spend it with my friends next year, as I know that these memories will be some of my favorite of my freshman year, if not of my entire Bates career.
Images from Katherine Cody, ’21.