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The Do’s and Don’ts of Canning with Strangers

This weekend marks the third and final canning weekend for THON 2014, and, a lot of you are about to spend 48 hours with a bunch of people you barely know. This has the potential to be an awesome experience if you play your cards right but extremely detrimental if you don’t.

It doesn’t have to be an awkward weekend, though. Here are some tips to make it run as smoothly as possible:

Car Behavior: The canning weekend officially begins when you take a seat in the vehicle that will be transporting you and your (kind of) friends to the desired location. If you don’t really know anyone you’re canning with, this is your first impression. No pressure.

  • DO Bring Gas Money: We’re all broke college kids. Throw the driver some bills.
  • DON’T Bring a Giant Bag: Unless it’s stuffed with food, which it most likely isn’t, everyone is just going to be really pissed off. You’re only going for two days; pack that way.
  • DO Sing Along: If everyone in the car is bonding over their favorite songs of our childhood, belt it out. Pandora’s Summer Hits of the 90’s can really bring people together.
  • DON’T Sing Along: If the car is silent, don’t pull a whole Christina Aguilera number where you hold one of your ears and make your voice wave in and out. Everyone will be really uncomfortable, and that doesn’t make for a great start to the weekend.

In-House Behavior: The fact that parents offer to host up to 30 random kids they have never met still blows my mind. Shout out to all of you; you are all great! That being said, the time spent not actually canning is a real chance for you to make or break yourself.

  • DO Eat the Food: Love the food even if you hate the food. Your hosts paid for/cooked it for you to eat, so get your grub on and thank them for the feast over and over and over again.
  • DON’T Eat ALL the Food: The girl who has only had one piece of pizza while you’re on your fourth is LYING. She does want the last piece. Leave it for her.
  • DO Sleep in Normal Sleeping Attire: It’s a cool thing when you and your roommate have lived together long enough that you can get away with wearing anything — or nothing — to bed. You and your fellow canners, however, are NOT on that level. Bring some acceptable sleeping attire to keep the number of awkward stares at a minimum.
  • DON’T Keep Everyone Up: When it finally gets silent and everyone is almost sleep, there is always that one kid that’s like “wow, it got really quiet.” Don’t be that kid.

Canning Behavior: If nothing else, execute this part well. It’s the main point of the entire weekend.

  • DON’T Be a Debbie Downer:  Your co-canners already know that you are cold because they are also cold. Negative energy will kill the entire positive vibes that THON operates on, so keep any and all complaints to yourself.
  • DO Estimate the Correct Amount of Enthusiasm: Canning is all about enthusiasm, but having the right amount of it is key. Screaming at the top of your lungs to a desolate road at 7:30 a.m. is probably a little too much, and being glued to your phone for the entire day is most definitely too little.
  • DON’T Hog the Good Spot: It’s tough to give up a spot where virtually everyone who passes by is giving you cash, but feel for the girl waiting outside the deserted convenience store a half mile away and rotate positions every once in a while.
  • DO Bring Gum and Hand Warmers: People like gum and hand warmers. If it’s cold out, bring extra hand warmers. Everyone will love you.

Have a great canning weekend Penn State, and may the odds for making both money and friends be ever in your favor.

About the Author

Lindsay Hummell

Sophomore majoring in Biobehavioral Health.


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