Prince William and Kate Middleton's unique university traditions from May Dip to centuries old curse

As exam season is in full swing, thousands of students across the UK are buckling down for some last-minute cramming before they sit their exams that will decide which university they'll be heading to this Autumn. For those hoping to walk in Royal shoes, St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland offers a plethora of opportunities and was even the place where Prince William and Kate Middleton's love story began.

Initially, the future king started off studying art history before switching gears to geography in his second year. He graduated with a Master of Arts in 2005, bagging a 2:1. His future queen, Kate, on the other hand, studied Art History and also graduated with an MA at a 2:1 in the same year.

While many are aware of the Royal couple's educational background, not many Royal enthusiasts know about the unique traditions that St. Andrews boasts, including an annual dash into the sea lovingly known as the May Dip, and even a curse that could result in students failing their degree if they don't take the right precautions!, reports the Mirror.

prince william and kate middleton's unique university traditions from may dip to centuries old curse

Prince William and wife Kate Middleton both attended St. Andres university, with the prestigious Scottish institution boasting several unique traditions

Let's delve deeper into some of the quirkiest traditions of William and Kate's alma mater....

Red Gowns

St. Andrew's University stands out with its iconic red gown tradition, a stark contrast to the typical black gowns seen at other institutions. Originally enforced as mandatory attire post-reformation to prevent students from underage drinking, these gowns now serve a more symbolic purpose. They're donned for special events like formal dinners, chapel services, and the famed Pier Walk.

The way students wear their gowns also varies by academic year. The official St Andrews website explains: "First years wear theirs fully on the shoulders, then in second year off the shoulders. Third years wear the gown off the left shoulder if they are arts students and the right shoulder if they are studying science. A fourth year student will wear the gown off both shoulders, across the elbow."

The Curse

But it's not all about fashion; there's a chilling tale woven into the university's history too. The curse of Patrick Hamilton, who was executed in 1582 for his Protestant beliefs, still haunts the grounds. His initials, PH, are set in cobblestone at the execution site, and legend has it that any student who steps on them will fail their degree.

May Dip

The curse might seem a bit harsh, but there is a way to break it - by participating in the May Dip!

This annual tradition happens on the first of May and sees students heading down to East Sands before sprinting into the North Sea to wash away the curse and get their academic studies back on track.

Raisin Monday

While studying at the university, third and fourth year students can "adopt them" a first year student, acting as their mentor and introducing them to student life. At the end of the mentoring period, which usually happens in mid October, a Raisin Weekend is held. The first years are entertained by their mentors, dressed up in fancy dress, and sent to gather in St Salvator's Quad for the annual Raisin Monday foam fight.

This tradition is considered a long-standing part of St. Andrews life, dating back several centuries. It got its name because traditionally, first year students would thank their mentors by giving them a pound of raisins at the end of their introduction to university life.

In return for the raisins, the mentors would give each student a receipt that could be used at the all-important foam fight.

Soakings

As the academic year wraps up and students are all set to graduate, they traditionally participate in a 'soaking' after their final exam. In keeping with tradition, friends of the final year students wait outside the exam venue to douse them with cold water, marking the end of their undergraduate journey.

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