I did it! I conquered Dance Marathon!
It still blows my mind that I was able to dance for 30 hours (seriously questioning how on Earth I managed to do that). Last week, I wrote an article talking about 10 myths I had heard about Dance Marathon and I promised that I would debunk them. With 30 hours of experience behind me, here is what I have to say:
MYTHS I’VE HEARD
1. You will cry during DM. A lot.
It depends. Some people do, some people don’t. Personally, I only got teary-eyed when the Starlight families spoke and a little weepy from being overtired at the end when the grand total was announced.
2. It’s really hot and sweaty. It is almost like it rains sweat in the tent. (Yes, someone actually told me this.)
Droplets of water DID fall down from the top of the tent – however, they were cold and more sporadic than anything, only happening at night. It was likely due to condensation from the cold outside. The only times it was REALLY hot in the tent were the first block, the fifth block (when the sun rose) and blocks nine and ten. It was really easy to cool off though; you just had to go to the outskirts of the tent to get some cooler air!
3. Your feet, back and neck will start to burn at some point – and won’t stop.
This one is true–your feet will never stop hurting. It doesn’t help that you get to sit for 10 minutes then have to get right back up and do it again. I really started to feel the pain at the start of block five after breakfast when we were allowed to sit for about 20 minutes. It was so hard to stand up after that much-needed rest! By the end of the night, my feet and ankles were so swollen that it was kind of painful to walk. When I was dancing though (especially during block 10) I didn’t feel the pain as much. Word to the wise for DM: YOU MUST KEEP MOVING! If you stop, you’ll start to feel tired or sore and won’t want to start again. Keep going and keep dancing!
4. You will have high and low points.
This is 100 percent true. I hit a wall HARD blocks five and nine – right after we sat down for breakfast and dinner respectively. It was hard to get through those blocks; I was tired, emotional, cranky and all I wanted to do was crawl under my covers. To get through my low points, though, I looked for people with high energy and started to dance with them. If you just start dancing like you feel it, your mind will eventually catch up with your legs. Special shout out to fellow Her Campus writer Elana Golub for pulling me out of my funk block five with that amazing sing-along to Grease. Love you girlie!
5. It starts to get difficult when the sun rises on Saturday.
Yes, yes, yes! That was when I hit my first wall. Everyone is different though! Some people had loads of energy after breakfast. Find those people and dance with them – you’ll get your energy back as the morning progresses!
6. You will attack other people for food.
Not that I saw. The food committee did an INCREDIBLE job making sure everyone got a snack when they came into the tent. I still cannot believe how much food they had…
7. You will want to bring your own food.
I brought some of my own food because I thought I was going to be starving. It was a nice pick-me-up between blocks if I didn’t like a snack the Food Committee served or if I needed a quick sugar kick. My snacks were also good to have after my team checked in and we were waiting for DM to start (the Committee doesn’t serve dinner Friday night.) Throw a couple of granola bars in your bag (and one in your fanny pack for during blocks!) and bring some source of protein (the Committee gives you a lot of sugary snacks.) That’s really all you need!
8. But you don’t even get hungry???
I never was hungry. Again, Food Committee came in CONSTANTLY to supply the dancers snacks. I don’t think I have ever ate so much food in the span of 30 hours before.
9. DM is a great time to meet new people.
I met SO many people I never knew before. It’s true: when you’re stuck in a tent for 30 hours, you’re bound to bond with people. I know a lot more faces around campus now and am so thankful for all the people that motivated me to keep going.
10. The sleep you experience after DM is not like any other sleep you’ve ever had.
I laid down on my pillow, mumbled something to my roommate, giggled deliriously and then passed out. I woke up 14 hours later at 5:30 p.m. The best sleep I had is a little bit of an understatement.
With that, I’m adding an 11th item to my list: the music during Dance Marathon absolutely kills it. Each block had such a different playlist that never had me bored. And when Mr. Brightside came on during block 10, I have never felt so excited in my entire life.
Dance Marathon was an absolutely incredible experience. It raised $1,130,979 for two incredible beneficiaries and united students across campus in an unforgettable experience. I look forward to joining the 60 hour club next year and encourage everyone to sign up for it just once to see the magic.
Gifs courtesy of reactiongifs.com and giphy.com. Cover photo image courtesy of dailynorthwestern.com.