Monthly Archives: October 2017

Sleeping in Dartmouth Gear #1

Title: Sleeping in Dartmouth Gear #1

General Information about Item:

  • Ritual
  • English
  • United States

Informant Data:

  • Kyle Rosen was born in Torrance, California, on April 29,1998. His father is a lawyer and mother is a stay-at-home mom. Kyle is an American Caucasian, but his family origins are Russian, Polish, and German, so his background is Eastern European and western. He is sophomore at Dartmouth College, studying chemistry as a pre-med student.  Kyle participates in Dartmouth EMS and in Hillel in his free time.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • The data was collected during a one on one interview on First Floor Berry while studying the day before a Chemistry midterm. Kyle described a ritual he does on the day of the exam to help him perform better. Kyle noted that his roommate performed a similar type of ritual before his exam, so Kyle tried it and has since continued to perform it. Kyle is a STEM major and so his exams are mostly quantitative rather than qualitative; however, he said that he performs this ritual before all exams.
  • Cultural Context
    • The cultural context of this folklore reflects the competitive atmosphere of Dartmouth college, where every grade impacts as student’s GPA. Students at an Ivy League do not just try to succeed in their classes, but to outperform their peers. As a result of this high stress environment, students may turn to superstitions or rituals to lessen the pressure.


  • “I always sleep in my Dartmouth long sleeve shirt before the night of a really intense exam. I also wear my shirt to the exam. I bought the shirt when I first arrived at Dartmouth during my freshman orientation. My then floormate and current roommate Parker told me about how he wears his high school shirt before his exams. I thought that was a cool idea that would help calm some of my nerves, so I decided to try it. The first time I wore it was during my first Chemistry 5 exam. I was very nervous about the exam and did not study nearly as much as I should have, but I still ended up doing pretty well. I started to wear the shirt for every exam, and then the one day I forgot to I bombed. That’s why I have worn the shirt ever since. It’s kind of like my good luck charm.”

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Collector’s Comments:

  • Kyle seemed very passionate when describing his Dartmouth shirt. Kyle noted that his roommate also performed a similar ritual as he also slept in Dartmouth gear the night before an exam, so he decided to give it a try as well. It worked well for him and he has been performing the ritual ever since then. This is considered folklore since it spread from Kyle’s roommate to Kyle.

Collector’s Name: Elizabeth Khusid


  • Ritual. Contagious Magic. Diffusion.