Disclaimer: I love my school; so much so, that I’m going to be an orientation leader for the incoming freshman class.
That stated, my venerated school is tragically lacking in the party/spontaneity department. I learned this over my first few days there, which cemented that the atmosphere is somewhat (said as tenderly as humanly possible) stale.
I was the last of my close friends to head off to college. So by the time I arrived in my little Western Massachusetts Bubble, I’d heard countless tales from friends at big schools (Duke, Cornell, etc.) who’d hit up frat parties their first night on campus and made out with junior dudes at seedy local bars on their second night out. Since I’m not entirely delusional, I was well aware that I was in for a different experience. What I didn’t expect, however, was that my first week at college would be comparable to my little brother’s first week at summer camp.
For what sincerely felt like weeks, we attended mandatory (What is that you say? You thought being forced to do tedious sh*t you really shouldn’t have to do was a thing of your long gone high school days?) discussions on the perils of alcohol and the virtues of career planning. We ate meals with our floor and our junior advisors. We had scheduled wake-ups and—wait for it—jambo-f*cking-rees. Safe to say, we were not ripping shots at Sigma Chi.
After orientation, we had a few days to settle in before classes started.
“Okay,” I thought, “Now the fun begins.”
I hate to sound like an urban ass, but when I got to college, I was bit inured. Growing up in the city, I’d pretty much run the gamut of under-21 partying—from ushering people towards the fire escape as the police knocked on my best friend’s door to interrupt the absurd house party she threw while her parents were out of town sophomore year, to feeling like an (inordinately excited) idiot as the bouncer at Le Bain shrugged approvingly at my identification senior year.
I didn’t want my college years to comprise a fog of off-campus clubbing and bar-hopping; I just assumed they would be appropriately crazy and stupid.
I assumed wrong.
The students at my school take themselves very seriously. They do not f*ck around, especially if it means their studies may be compromised. Thirsty Thursdays? LOL. The mere suggestion of drinking on a school night ain’t kosher.
On Halloween, when a couple of us decided to invite some people over to act like the ribald college students we were supposed to be, it didn’t really work out. Halloween was on a Wednesday, so, naturally, people were outraged by our loud music and beer chugging. That was one short-lived party.
After a few months of hauling my ass across campus only to find that the alleged party going down had been shut down by Campus Security, I decided to give up on the scene. I became rather hermit-like for the remaining weeks of fall term.
Fortunately, I managed to make some wonderful friends who coaxed me out of my Criminal Minds Cocoon and forced me to give our school a second chance. Though “rage” remained a term seldom used, for the second half of my first year, I had a great time. In a staggering twist of events, I don’t think other people loosened up—I think I loosened up.
For the second time, I offer rising frosh (some of whom may be fortunate enough to have me as their orientation spirit guide in a short time) a nugget of sagacity: Don’t let any dispiriting first impressions push you into a slump.
Trust me, I know. After suffering that first week of collegiate camp only to confirm that your recreational options are indeed sparse, it’ll be easy to feel disheartened. But that one party you’ve heard of at the other end of campus might have promise, so rally and head over. Avoid the bleak habit of staying in on both Friday and Saturday nights. Worse case scenario: You’re out with a group of your friends. So if that one party turns out to be as grim as you anticipated, head to the closest common room with a decent speaker and create your own weirdness (f*ck your floor mates).
At the very least, if you’re determined to watch 14 episodes of Scandal rather than go out, do your friends a favor and don’t send them 65 depressing texts about how miserable the party scene is. Honestly, they’re just trying to get hammered. And your griping is more depressing than any over-crowded kegger.
Featured Image Courtesy of The Campus Companion