Dorm Raid

“Dorm raid happened once a year at Idyllwild Arts Academy. The dorms are all locked at 10 pm every night. If you’re caught outside, you could be expelled. But there’s one night a year where we do dorm raid. The prefects (essentially the resident advisors for each hallway of dorm rooms at Idyllwild) determine the day and covertly spread it around. All the students come together at 10 pm. When the dorm parent (professor who lives in residence) locks the door, the prefects alert us and we just run out of the dorms and call people at the exact same minute. Sirens go off all over campus. You head into the fields and the woods, wherever. The professors chase after the students and have fun with it. If you get tracked down by a dorm parent, you technically have to go back to the dorm, but you don’t really have to. You just have to be back by 1:30 am. That happened around the end of the year, fourth quarter. Just when everyone is getting ready to tear out their hair. It was such a great way to unite us. You bond a lot. Fix friendships that might have gotten strained by all the stress. Having that night to do what you want to do when you’re studying and stressed out is such a release. It really helps you get your focus back the next day to do the work you need to do.”


Dorm Raid is a way of giving the students a break in a stressful time of the year. For one night, the normal rules about curfew and student-teacher interactions are ignored. The students are permitted to break the rules without fear of punishment. Not only does this help to bond the students together, as they avoid a common “enemy” while they run around the campus, but it also bonds them with the teachers. At that point of the year, when the teachers are assigning a lot of work, students most likely do not feel very happy toward them. Having a night where the teachers allow them to break the rules and even engage with them playfully by pretending to chase the students down, gives the students a more positive experience with the teachers. This lets them bond with and forgive the teachers, and later approach work assigned by those teachers more favorably.