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Stage and Crowd at THON 2023
Stage and Crowd at THON 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski
Life > Experiences

What I’m Packing for THON Weekend & How I Prepared

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

THON is tough for everyone; whether you’re dancing, standing with your organization, working on a committee or walking the concourse, the weekend can feel never-ending. 

Many people brave the BJC for 46 hours in the stands. You can do a lot to prepare for such a feat, but once you’re in your spot, you cannot leave the BJC, and you have to ensure you’re as prepared as possible. 

I will be someone who is spending the majority of the weekend in the stands, so here are a few of my essentials!!

Obviously, you have to have a clear bag. I usually opt for the tote version; it is the largest option for what is allowed and fits so much. 

Greek Organizations at THON Weekend 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

The first thing I put in my bag is compression socks. It might seem silly or something your grandparents wear, but I promise it will be worth it when you’re there. 

Speaking of socks, I always keep at least two extra pairs in my bag. It makes you feel refreshed and makes all the difference when standing there. 

I also like to bring another pair of shoes. I am a strong supporter of Hokas, not because they’re trendy but because my doctor told me I have to wear them. So, I will be bringing two different pairs of the Bondi 8s into the BJC this year. 

They are honestly my holy grail shoes. I wear them almost every day, and for as long as I’ve had them, they feel just as awesome as they did the first time I put them on.

After last year’s THON, I ended up in a boot, so I am not taking any chances this year and will be switching my shoes up every 12 hours or so. 

Speaking of prevention and care, tennis balls for rolling your feet out will be essential, especially toward the end of the weekend. 

THON 2023 Line Dance
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

I will be bringing multiple clothing options. An extra T-shirt, biker shorts and a long-sleeved shirt. 

I typically layer up to save space in my bag, so I’ll wear a t-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt on top and then a sweatshirt. I can always shove them in my bag or have the extra articles of clothing I’m not wearing sitting on top of the bag. 

I also like to throw a pair of sweats in the bag in case I get tired of wearing leggings. 

I include a small bag that fits toiletry items within my clear bag. Within this bag, I have packed Aquaphor, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, Advil, vitamin C tablets, my inhaler, a contact case with solution, an extra hair tie, lotion and perfume. 

I have a mini hairbrush and baby wipes in my bag as well. The hairbrush will just make me feel better with the constant outfit changes. 

As for the baby wipes, they are a game changer. You will feel refreshed after using them which feels like a reset so that I can remain in the BJC longer. Or at least that’s how it feels in my head. 

I usually stuff a bunch of random knick-knacks and travel activities to entertain me and my organization. Stress balls and pop are good for moving your hands around.

Anything that helps with fidgeting is excellent because it will keep you busy and not think that you’re relatively stationary. 

A portable charger is a must if you plan to be there for most of the weekend, and your phone dies pretty fast trying to run your data since the BJC is packed. 

If you bring a portable charger, download games like Heads Up to entertain and engage the group. 

Speaking of electronics, bring headphones or earbuds. It initially sounded silly to me, but they saved my life last year. 

The BJC is so crowded and busy; there’s constant music, and it is so easy to get overstimulated. I put my AirPods in many times and secluded myself from the group. It saved me. I could recharge my social battery, and listening to my own music was comforting. 

Walking around the concourse with my headphones was life-changing, too. Standing in one place for that long kills your feet, so moving around occasionally is great. 

A water bottle is a must, and I prefer a Brita water bottle. It filters the water, has a straw and the lid covers the straw, so it is more sanitary than if I bring my Stanley or Hydroflask with a straw. 

If your organization does themed hours to support dancers, make sure you have all those items packed and planned accordingly. 

Nittany Lion at THON 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

THON requires a lot of preparation if you plan to stay for most of the weekend. Planning ahead is vital, especially if you need to order things in advance or make stuff that will take a while. 

These items are essential for my survival during THON Weekend, many of these tips I’ve picked up from people in my organization, my roommates, or reading other articles about THON prep. 

Other ways I’ve prepared for THON have been getting lots of sleep, maintaining my exercise schedule and cutting out caffeine. 

THON is one of the best weekends of the year, and preparing properly can make it run smoothly and be your favorite weekend of the year!

Olivia Pettyjohn is a fourth-year journalism major at Penn State, planning to graduate in 2024.