The Joy of the Season

After almost two weeks of rest and recuperation over the Thanksgiving break, everyone is back on campus and getting into the swing of winter term.  Even though we only have two weeks before our winter holiday, there are many fun things happening on campus.

One of my favorite parts of these two weeks is Angeling, our version of Secret Santa.  In the dorms, we each pick a name out of a hat.  Each dorm does it a bit differently, but in my dorm, we use the last four days before winter break to “shower our person with gifts” as my dorm head put it.  Some people like to decorate their person’s door or room, put up posters, give little treats like candy or cookies, or fill stockings with goodies.  Everyone has fun planning what he or she is going to do for his or her person each day.

Some activities my friends and I also enjoy this time of the year involve our ESSO clubs.  One of the ESSO clubs I am part of is American Sign Language.  Each week, a few of us go to the Harris Family Children’s Center to teach young faculty children sign language.  Our time at the Center usually involves teaching the children a song and some vocabulary.  Watching the children get excited about it all and soaking the language up like sponges always makes for a fun break from classes.  In the spirit of the holiday season, a few of my friends and I like to help out with an ESSO club that replies to children’s letters to Santa.  I received the same such letters when I was younger and know how happy they made me.  Writing the letters for young children while singing Christmas songs with my friends and drinking hot cocoa is a treat!

The Music Department held its annual holiday concert this weekend.  284 Exonians, almost thirty percent of the student body, participated in the production in some capacity, such as in Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir, Jazz Band, and others.  The night’s performances showcased the rewards of countless hours of effort and practice put in throughout the first term of this year.  Classic pieces were performed and carols were sung along with student favorites, such as songs from The Grinch.  The concert ended with all performing Exonians returning to the stage to lead the audience in three classic holiday songs including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”  It was truly a wonderful evening!

Since we have started a new term and only have a short amount of time before we head home again, these two weeks can be academically challenging, but there are so many activities taking place on campus that we do get a nice balance of work and play.


I hope, dear reader, that you have a wonderful holiday season!

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About Marie Leighton McCall

Hello! My name is Marie Leighton and I am a member of Exeter's Class of 2018. It is my third year at PEA and while I am far from my home in North Carolina, my wonderful dorm of Hoyt Hall has become my second home. I enjoy spending time with my classmates and friends in clubs such as Model UN, Business Club, and ESSO American Sign Language, and with my teammates on the rowing team. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at