St Andrews students have a number of strange and wonderful traditions, including the academic family system.
Where older students adopt first years.
>> NICK: So, I would describe the academic family as an informal mentorship where third years adopt first years.
>>HANNAH: The academic family has certainly enriched my social life, especially in first year just getting started. It was good to meet people and they always had a friendly face no matter where you went because this town is so small.
The first few weeks of semester are often filled with academic families being created.
Whether you meet them through your academics, hobbies, or social life, you never quite know how your academic family tree will grow.
>>HANNAH: An academic family is different from a society or sports club because it's a very personal experience. It's a no commitment kind of thing unless you want it to be.
You make it what you want.
>>NAOMI: I think it's made it easier in first year to have the academic families and parents because you get to meet a lot of people that you wouldn't ordinarily meet and it kind of bridges the gap between the older and younger years.
The mentoring aspect of the academic families culminates in Raisin Weekend when children are entertained by their parents and are encouraged to play pranks and silly games.
>>HANNAH: On Raisin Sunday, most people spend the morning with their mothers.
>>LEWIS: We got a call at I think it was 6.30AM. Got told to go down to the beach.
>>NAOMI: We found them assembled fully dressed in costume and then we went swimming in the sea to clean off. That was nice and refreshing.
>>HANNAH: Before Raisin, I was so nervous. There is so much hype around the weekend especially as a first year if you haven't been in St Andrews before Raisin you don't know what to expect.
>>NICK: Coming up to Raisin Weekend, I think I was pretty nervous about not actually being able to make the weekend fun enough for my kids because for me, certainly when I was a kid, it was such a great experience and I remember a lot of it just feeling amazed that this happens each year and it's a tradition.
Many parents spend the weeks before Raisin Weekend designing games for Raisin Sunday and costumes that children wear on Raisin Monday.
>>YASMINE: For Raisin Monday we made costumes based on our favourite TV show. As a group we all constructed them together and spent quite a bit of time just staying up and having them as a kind of parent bonding and then we distributed them to our kids on Raisin Monday.
The world famous pinnacle of Raisin Weekend is Raisin Monday shaving foam fight.
>>HANNAH: All the first years gather in the quad and your academic mother gives you a costume and you go in and you have these cans of shaving cream and you just lob it at each other.
>>LEWIS: For the foam fight we all went down as a family, so our mum, who was the queen, we carried her on the throne.
>>NAOMI: We marched through the streets of St Andrews with banners raised and flags flying so I think we made quite a scene.
>>HANNAH: It was a really fun experience. It was over before I really knew it began. I guess I was just having so much fun. You'll never get anything like that again.
Academic families are a tradition which extends past the three streets of St Andrews.
>>NICK: I've had some interesting cases when down in London I bumped into my academic great-great uncle at an event and purely through chance we worked out that we were both related.
>>SARA: When I look back on my time in St Andrews, I definitely include academic families. Mainly because I still am in contact with them. One of my daughters just had a baby, which is really crazy so I'm kind of a grand mother.
>>LEWIS: Your academic siblings. You don't know them before you meet with them as a family. So it's really nice to meet them and then from that you get introduced to so many new people. It really opens a lot of doors. It's a really good idea.
>>HANNAH: To me the academic family has served as a real support system and a network of people I can always call on. I will definitely become an academic parent myself because I want to provide the same kind of support system that my parents gave to me. It's another close friendship I look forward to having.