Dance Marathon is said to be a Northwestern tradition that every student should participate in at least once during their undergraduate experience. Ever since I stepped foot on campus in September, I’ve been consistently reminded how incredible it is, and after learning about this year’s beneficiary, I couldn’t contain my excitement around getting involved. In addition to signing up to dance, I joined the Marketing & Media committee, and I was ready to dive into the crazy world of Dance Marathon.
Things were relatively calm leading up to the weekend-of. I’d have a Marketing & Media meeting every week or so, but nothing too excruciating. To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand the impact of Dance Marathon until I stepped foot into the tent.
The first three hours were great. Everybody had high sprits and we were all having a great time dancing like there was no tomorrow. It was fun saying ‘hi’ to friends and seeing the team shirts that all of the groups had created. However, as time went on, things became a bit more difficult.
Block two was fine, and block three was okay, but block four was definitely the hardest block of the entire marathon. By that point, we were 9 hours into dancing, and I realized that we weren’t even halfway done. The block took place from 4-7 am, which meant the tent was incredibly cold. The only way to stay warm was to go into the middle of the masses, but at that point, standing on the side seemed like the best option physically.
Time went on, and we all, obviously, kept dancing. However, once we passed block 7, finishing the marathon suddenly seemed more attainable. We had made it two thirds of the way, and the adrenaline had started to kick in.
Photo Courtesy of Rachel Seidenberg
By the end of the marathon, I was incredibly tired and incredibly sore. All I wanted to do was sleep, and the walk back to Elder seemed unthinkable. But, when all was said and done, it was 100% worth it. Sure, I was uncomfortable physically, but that was only 30 hours of pain. Children across the country spend 60 hours without any food or nourishment every weekend, and that’s an incredibly more difficult pain than the one I suffered. I was dancing for a reason, and that reason was to make the lives of others a little better. And though I was in pain, the thought of helping somebody else through the beneficiary Blessings in a Backpack truly helped make the 30 hours possible.
Dance Marathon wasn’t easy, it wasn’t painless and it definitely pushed me to my limit. However, what I wasn’t expecting was the incredible bond that I created with my team, and the incredible feeling that overcame me as I exited the tent for the last time. I had done something that was so much bigger than myself. I had made a mark in the lives of thousands, and with that, I could say mission accomplished.
As a freshman, I never thought I’d say this, but here goes nothing: it’s true – every Northwestern student should participate in Dance Marathon at least one time during their undergraduate experience. You may love it or you may hate it, but one thing is for sure: you’ll be making a difference in the lives of many, and that’s a pretty incredible thing.
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