Mirror Lake Jump: Through the Eyes of a Student

Three feet of water, thirty degrees, a few thousand of your closest friends. That’s basically Mirror Lake in a nutshell. Tuesday, I took part in my last jump of my college career. Starting in the 1990s at the end of a simple rally march for The Game, the Mirror Lake Jump has become something of legend in college traditions. Here’s how it happens, through the eyes of a student.


Tuesday, November 25th. 5:00 PM

On my way to my last class of the week in Haggerty Hall, I stopped at the Ohio Union to pick up my “required” wristband for the jump. As last year, I waited until the last day to get my wristband because I live life on the edge. Standing between me and a plunge into the freezing water was an 80 minute German class. Once class ended, I hurried home to pack my backpack for the evening: a bathing suit, my Crocs, a towel, a change of clothes, and some adult beverages.

Tuesday, November 25th. 8:30 PM

After packing for my trip home over break, and watching some CBJ hockey, it was time to go to the pre-jump party. I threw on my sweatpants and an appropriate for the occasion Ohio State jacket and headed to my friend’s apartment. Over the next three hours, I met some people who, by the end of the night, would feel like I had known them my entire life. That’s what the jump does. It brings together people who would otherwise never meet or hang out and turns them into the closest of friends. There was a handful of party games, one person who we lost at 9:30 to the comfort of the floor, and plenty of overplayed pop-country songs. Prior to finally heading out, we wrapped up our hype-up with Seven Nation Army (sorry, people who are tired of that), We Don’t Give a Damn, and of course, Carmen Ohio.

Tuesday, November 25th. 11:30 PM

It was cold, but I didn’t care. There were 10 of us or so, with 3-4 “designated dry people”, or people who aren’t jumping and will be taking pictures/holding stuff. After getting some pictures taken and stripping off my coat, we charged into the masses. Calling the wristband check at all strict would be offensive to the word strict. By this time, the ground around Mirror Lake was already smashed into a muddy pulp, and if you stood still for too long, you would start to sink into the ground. We made our way to the edge of the water and wasted zero time in jumping in. If you think about it, you’ll hesitate, and start to realize how cold you are, and how cold the water is. As soon as my legs hit the water, I realized that I hate being in a freezing cold body of water. That didn’t stop me from splashing the people around me, screaming things that I probably can’t print, and plenty of O-Hs. We climbed out of the water, made our video debuts (that’s me in the gray “Beat Michigan” shirt at about 28 seconds in). There was a second jump, just for a picture. We then made our way back to the apartment. Freezing, dripping wet, dirty, but totally pumped.

Wednesday, November 26th. 12:15 AM

We all made it back to the apartment safely, and took shifts taking a hot shower in our bathing suits to warm up and try and clean off. After drying off and changing into clean clothes, we walked back to our respective apartments. I took a real shower because if you don’t shower after the jump you’ll probably end up with diseases that you can’t pronounce. Never has a bed felt more warm and comfortable than after the Mirror Lake Jump.


It’s impossible to capture how hectic this event is in text. Even a video doesn’t do it justice. It really is organized chaos. If you’re a student, I encourage you to go to the jump at least to watch, at some point in your college career. It’s an experience unlike any other. If you’re jumping, just be prepared with warm clothes, a towel, and a “safe house” to go back to after the jump, and you’ll be fine. As a friend’s dad used to say, “Be safe. Have fun.”


And remember. Go Buckeyes.

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