Squirrel Sonia and Her Fantastic Family (CUSTOMS!)

It all started rather awkwardly.  We were asked to introduce ourselves in an alliterative, animal inspired way.  I became Squirrel Sonia, Nicole named herself a Narwhal, and Despina dubbed herself a Dinosaur.  How strange to think my tight-knit group of friends, effectively my Haver-family, started out as a simple “we,” thrown together in the throes of Customs Week.

I mentioned Customs a couple posts ago, but this is a subject that deserves an entire post of its own.  Put simply, Customs is the hallmark of the Haverford social experience.  Customs can be pretty confusing and complicated, but I’ll try to give the quickest summation of Customs ever:


Customs Group: the group of freshmen who live together on a hall.  Despina was in my Customs Group; we lived in apartment 46 together.  She’s one of my very best friends.

Customs Team: a group of upperclassmen assigned to a Customs Group to ease the college transition time.  That sounds really official and dry; instead, read: friends who have this whole college thing down pat.  For example, Nicole was my Customs Person, a sophomore (now junior) who lived with me and whom I asked where the bank was in the first few days.  She’s also one of my very best friends.

Customs Week: a few days prior to the rest of the student body’s arrival dedicated to Customs Teams and Groups to get to know each other and the campus.  Again, pretty dry; read: super fun times!  We throw water balloons at the deans, compete in “Dorm Olympics” (hilarity ensues…), and just get close.


That’s Customs in a nutshell, but I can’t even begin to explicate how close I am with my Customs Group and Team.  These are my best friends – the ones I’ll end up sending Holiday cards to when we’re old and married and stuff (oh the horrors of post-undergraduate life!).  Here we are:

This is not to say that Customs limits your friend pool; I definitely have non-apartment 46 friends.  If anything, the Customs program is the perfect means to break into the entire Haverford social scene.  Everyone in your Customs Group will find their own niches, and your Customs Team had Customs Teams before them.  Through your Customs Group and Team, you’ll end up meeting athletes, seniors, and people from your hometown; you meet the largest Haver-family there is – the entire student body.

So, yes, I admit Customs Week can be a little awkward, but Customs is an avenue to form friendships that last past Haverford’s four years.  These are the people you will live, eat, study, and laugh with.  Mouse Maggie, a graduated senior, just texted me a while ago with an update on her life. Alligator Alec stops by for dinner rather regularly. Whether it’s a group dinner out on the Main Line, or spontaneous reunions in Zubrow Commons (a popular study place on campus), us 46ers see each other regularly.

So, deal with the awkward first hour; that hour makes for a fantastic four years to follow at the ‘Ford.