Beer fountain. Slip n’ slide. Chest-thumping bass. Maybe some hot girls wrestling in strawberry Jello. After watching Animal House you can’t blame me for expecting at least the first three on my list, although I will admit, the fourth was more wishful thinking. I took a deep breath, puffed my chest out, and strutted off the Vandy Van (the campus shuttle) with a herd of loud, and quite clearly intoxicated freshman. The nervous excitement buzzing through the crowd was infectious. The confidence I had so resolutely instilled in myself as I had strolled out of my dorm room caved within seconds. Booming Bassnectar-esque techno and chris brown assaulted my ears as the crowd approached the frat houses. Then, all of a sudden, the herd began to split, each group of freshman clinging to some party invite they had heard about from a friend’s friend and going their own ways. I found myself following the kids headed to a frat I had heard was throwing a luau party tonight. I approached the frat house, Natural Light (the infamous dirt-cheap, watery college favorite otherwise known as “natty”) beer cans littering the lawn with a line stretching from the front lawn to the street. All of the freshmen were jostling for position, their insatiable curiosity evident in their restless chatter. Then, a group of four girls walked out of the house, laughing together in soaking wet bikinis with pink and yellow leys draped acorss their near-naked shoulders. Any semblance of order that this crowd had dissipated immediately, and all hell broke loose.
College social life. It is the most under-valued and underestimated facet of the freshman experience. The best high-school student can easily get lost in the college party-scene, or the exact opposite may happen, and the kid may never learn to put his or herself out there and embrace the college experience. One creates a party animal, the other a socially inept loner. Neither sound like favorable outcomes to me. There will always be someone looking to hangout. Someone who has nothing to do that day and is looking for a companion to revel in the new freedom college grants. “Let’s go see a movie, come on man, it’s only two hours. You can finish the chem reading tomorrow. “ If I got a buck every time I heard that I’d be driving a Ferrari. The key to enjoying yourself in college and maintaining an active social life is balance. Learn to finish your work before you go anywhere. Don’t procrastinate, go somewhere quiet and make yourself a promise. “I’m not leaving until I finish (insert work for the day).” My personal favorite quiet place is the library. It’s hard to get distracted when there’s a security guard goose-stepping along the study cubicles with the sole purpose of silencing anyone so much as mouthing “watsup” to a friend. And if you’re still not getting your work done, dangle a treat in front of yourself for after as added motivation (I have to do this) like those hamsters in commercials running endlessly on their wheel in pursuit of the Cheez It dangling in front of it. “Once I finish this, I’m going to go to that beer pong night , that club, that movie, that glow-in-the-dark Frisbee game.” Lock yourself in and finish whatever it is you have to do. That being said, when you’re done, by all means, go crazy. On that note, I’ll finish my introduction.
The line morphed into a crowd and surged forward, pushing aside the feeble wooden table and two horrified frat bros who were supposedly “security”. The party was everything I thought it would be, and then some. Two pickup trucks, their beds filled to the brim with water and hot girls in bikinis splashing around, stood in the backyard, framing a wooden stage with towering subwoofers each standing over 15 foot tall on either side. People were being pushed off the stage like the coin game at chuck-e-cheese, quickly replaced by others, eager to fight their way onto the stage. The dance floor was packed so tight that the shorter partiers had to leap above the crowd to snag a fresh breath of air before plummeting back into the roiling sea of students below. On the right side of the backyard was a makeshift bar, the frat brothers behind it lobbing beers into the ecstatic crowd. And the icing on the cake. One brother standing on the roof with a keg attached to a hose and a horde of eager kids standing below, mouths open and heads up-turned like hungry baby birds waiting to be fed by their mothers. I was stunned immobile. Thankfully, a passing frat guy bumped into me, returning basic motor skills to my paralyzed body. I think it goes without saying that was a good night.