As a sophomore, it’s impossible to compare 2021’s Presidential Ball to previous, “normal” years as I’ve never experienced a Fairfield dance pre-COVID. However, I can confidently say that the night exceeded my expectations nevertheless.

Going into the event, I was already feeling anxious and put off due to the ticketing incident the week before. As many of us know, or have heard numerous times, the first night the tickets were released, many students were able to buy them earlier in the day before others had a chance. Once this was revealed, those tickets were made invalid and the ticket process had to start over. 

The second time around, I was prepared to secure a spot at the dance. My roommates and friends all sat together, hunched over our computer screens waiting for what seemed like forever to be let onto the website. As each friend was let in before me, their page had trouble loading and crashed before allowing them to buy a ticket. When it came to be my turn, I somehow managed to get past the main page and purchased my own ticket. Except when the payment went through, I did not receive an email confirmation, and the website crashed every time I tried to look at my previous order.

Luckily, I emailed FUSA and they sent me a copy of my ticket. My friends were eventually able to get on a waitlist, which allowed them a spot on the guest list. This entire process was incredibly stressful and made me dread the actual dance. Once the night came, however, it most definitely made up for the ticketing nightmare. 

It was incredibly magical seeing everyone dressed in formal clothing and walking up the hill to Bellarmine Hall in one large group. It truly felt like a scene from a Disney princess movie. At the entrance, the process was very thorough, smooth and fast, which I appreciated. But my favorite part of the night was walking behind Bellarmine and seeing the beautiful tent set up for us. It was obvious that the venue planners and builders spent a lot of time, effort and money to make the ball as perfect as can be. 

On the left-hand side of the outdoor setup were tables filled with Stag favorites including pigs in a blanket, mac and cheese bites, french toast sticks, chicken tenders, fries, popcorn and a whole lot more. Even further, my heart exploded with joy when I saw that there were multiple towers made out of macaroons. Looking back at it, I deeply regret not hoarding and storing them in my room for a late-night snack. 

On the left side were drinks to stay hydrated, which included water and blue Gatorade. The back part had tables for students to sit and eat at, and of course, the upper half of the tent was reserved for the biggest dance floor I had ever seen. I mean seriously, it was massive.

When dancing, it was a bit overwhelming to be so close to my classmates maskless. Even though myself and most of the school are vaccinated, it was strange to have this large in-person experience again after being isolated for so long. And for half an hour, when I was stuck in the middle, I felt very claustrophobic as people pulled my hair and accidentally shoved me while dancing. 

But, other than that, when I was farther away from the “moshpit,” I had an unforgettable time dancing with my friends to fun throwbacks, getting lost in the flashing colorful lights and stuffing my face with good food. I also was super excited that I got to meet and take a picture with President Nemec and his wife.

The only thing I know now is that next year I will be sure to wear sneakers; please never wear heels to this event, as my feet are still very sore. Just throw them on for pictures. Also, stay away from the middle of the dance floor and sneak tupperware in if you can! Overall, I definitely recommend that every Stag attend at least one Presidential Ball in their time at Fairfield, if not all of them – it is without a doubt, one of the best events thrown all year!

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