Having never attended a big American university (they call it college for some reason), there are certain things I don't "get." I did my undergrad in Canada where college sports are not a big deal. They're not on the news and no one goes to watch unless you know someone on the team. Sororities and frats are also not as common and at my school not allowed. In general there are a lot of things that take place in American schools that are unheard of in Canada. I did my masters at an American state run comparatively low budget university where most students worked and commuted to school so there wasn't much of a big school atmosphere. So, things I don't get include definitions of words like "frosh" or "pledge." It wasn't until recently that I really understood what the heck a frat/sorority was about. To me it was an exclusive system of arbitrary friendships and a whole bunch of kids living in some gigantic house. Apparently I wasn't too far off but there are things like charity work and stuff that they take part in and the systems are entrenched in all this tradition etc etc. OK so I sort of get it and now I secretly want to take part in one of their little parties so I can say I did.
The other thing that is still a complete mystery to me is this whole idea of homecoming. Apparently this also happens in high schools. It's associated with a football game, marching bands (also uncommon in Canada), the crowning of a king/queen (in high school), and some sort of celebration. At UW there is a big banner announcing homecoming. There will be a rally, football game, "dawg" sled contest (students turning Costco shopping carts into dog sleds I think), scavenger hunt and a bunch of other activities. I really don't get it. Who is coming home and what the hell is being celebrated? What does football have to do with it and why do high schools crown a king and queen? Could you Americans enlighten me?
And how come we don't get to do all this fun celebratory stuff in Canada? Schooling seems so much less eventful there. The only fun thing I remember was Finals Fantasy parties but those were not hosted by the school. UBC's departmental beer gardens and outdoor concerts were pretty cool though.