Finding a child
Traditionally, first years will pick their mother. However, in practise there is no reason why you can't ask to adopt a first year if you want to! Make sure that you have things in common, and have the same idea as your children about the kind of raisin sunday they want. Raisin weekend can be a fantastic memory for St Andrews students, and it is so important to pick children that you get along with - and importantly who get on with each other! Don't get carried away and adopt too many - you'll never be able to keep in touch with all of them, and Raisin weekend will slowly become very expensive!
If you are struggling to find children, there is always the last minute option of the "orphan bop" on the Friday of Raisin Weekend where you can adopt to your heart's content!
If you are an academic mother, you have the task of making your kids' Raisin strings. These can be purchased from BESS (the Students' Association shop, at the front of the building) or if you're feeling creative, you could make your own! Just remember:
3rd Year Mothers: use only THREE strings, red, blue and yellow.
4th Year Mothers: use all FOUR strings.
Twist the strings together rather than weaving them - Raisin strings should be decorated with fun items that represent your children, and you should be rewarded with a gift (customarily a bottle of wine, which has come to replace the traditional pound of raisins!)
The Sunday afternoon is yours, and the tradition is to throw your children a 'tea party'. Whilst it is not unheard of for this party to revolve around vodka rather than Earl Grey, all tea parties will include party games. It's a great opportunity to come up with fun and silly games which will break the ice - particularly if your children don't know each other very well. They're also a good opportunity to ply your kids with party food, making sure they've eaten something before their father's evening party.
Please take into the account the wishes of your children - by all means have challenges and dares, but if they do involve alcohol remember not to pressurise your children into doing anything they don't want to - they can say no!
Be a good mum and stay aware of how much they are drinking - if you think they have had too much give them some water or food, and stop them from drinking any more. Raisin isn't much fun if you pass out after a few hours! If your kids, or anyone, get into a bad state you can phone the Raisin First Aid Helpline on (01334 46) 2020. It might be a good idea to save this number on your phone just in case! There will also be a help station in the Mansfield building (opposite the buildling) open 12noon-12am on Raisin Sunday.
Dressing your kids up on Raisin Monday is one of your most important tasks as academic mum - try and plan a few weeks in advance to make sure you come up with something inventive and original. Past ideas have included anything from oompa loompahs, to sheep, to christmas treses so you really can let your imagination run wild.
Remember not to spend too much money - Dundee is always a good plae to get dressing up and face paint etc, and remember local charity shops are always an excellent (and cheap) option. Do remember that your kids will probably have to walk a wee way from your house to the quad so please make sure they are relatively warmly clothed! Don't let them wear anything they like or treasure - it will be destroyed by foam.
On the Monday morning, you are traditionally supposed to cook your children breakfast whilst they get ready. Make sure they arrive at yours relatively early so they have time to get dressed up, get to their Dad's to collect their raisin receipt, and head to the Quad for 11am.
After Raisin Weekend
Academic families aren't just about one weekend - try and keep in touch with your family beyond the end of November. Often freshers find it really useful to have an older and more experienced student like their academic mum to turn to - especially if they are worried about something, or having academic issues. And it's always nice to be an academic grandma and attend your own children's raisin parties!