About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Minority

I know that this group of hard partiers isn't the majority of people. I think that there is a large middle ground of students who like to have fun, but not drink so much and randomly hook up. In my opinion I think that give or take it's about 25-40% of the student population that really partakes in that excessive party lifestyle that I don't particularly enjoy. However, just as the percent that participates in this lifestyle differs from school to school, so does the population of the middle ground. Where I'm at school, there are largely two groups: those that go out and get drunk looking to hook up and those who study all the time. I'm absolutely positive that the middle ground exists, but between the difficulty and competition at school and the amount of time consumed by sports, it's very difficult for me to meet people in what little free time I have. And, on top of that, when I don't have work or athletics, I really just want to lie down and watch television in my room, mindlessly play video games, or just catch up on sleep. Everything else seems, well, even more exhausting.

By no means did I mean to infer that the group of "partiers" I spoke of in my last post as a majority. It is undoubtedly a minority, but, let's be realistic, it is a fairly large minority. It's large enough where that mentality of going hard at parties and looking for meaningless sex has fully engulfed the college stereotype in movies and television shows and even in the way that younger people view university nowadays. I don't know the reason behind this universal college aspect; it could be media, more relaxed morals, different generational views on marriage and relationships, or any number of different mediums. Nevertheless, I feel that the most important part about this new trend is not the way it spread, but that it is so pervasive across universities in the United States (I cannot say for sure about foreign schools because I have not been to those other colleges)

Not very far behind comes the second most important part: seemingly no parents, adults, or universities have really done anything about it. I know that everyone knows this newly found college culture exists, but it's as if the entire world has just accepted it as fact. That this is just how it is and there's nothing anybody can do about it, but they'd be wrong. We can still fix the problem. As of now, I don't have a solution, but the point of my argument remains that people are aware of the problem but act as if it doesn't exist. Some places do not even look for a solution or even identify the issue.

Now, one could argue that schools do try to curb the partying and drinking by, for example, making parents' weekend the same as Halloween weekend, or making many exams and midterms the day after well known drinking days (Superbowl, St. Patty's Day, etc), or by giving students many options for extracurricular activities that would take up their time doing productive work rather than partying. But I ask, what about those schools that have deals with local police forces so that student's won't be busted for underage drinking? What about the thousands of adults, parents, alumni, professors, and other football fans who walk through the tailgates and say nothing about a clearly underage girl playing beerpong in practically her underwear? What about those who say nothing about the obvious Freshmen who are chugging beers with their new frat brothers?

Yes, I do agree that it is so pervasive in schools all around the country that it would be very difficult to find a way to curb drinking completely. I do not advocate banning alcohol. I think that would be a misinformed and rash decision for many reasons, including potential riots, protests, unnecessary destruction, etc. But universities should come together with their common problem to attempt to find a solution to the excess, to the binge drinking, to the hazing, and to the mentality that students "need to get trashed  and hammered in order to have a good time." Because that's just not true, alcohol in such excess can only lead to regret and fun can be had in so many different ways.

5 comments:

  1. You bring up a good point about the expectation pop culture creates. I've noticed movies, tv shows, etc. not only feature excessive drinking in college, but in high school too (like Clueless, Mean Girls, I haven't seen them but I'm guessing Gossip Girl and the OC). Pehaps this causes some to get to college and just assume everyone else acts like that and has been since age 16?

    -From a freshman

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  2. I think that's right, but it's only a scratch on the surface. There are most likely much deeper and different levels of thought concerning why these young men and women choose to drink in excess.
    For example, let's say that a young student enters university without any intention of drinking. He or she doesn't really enjoy parties too much because of the presence of alcohol and people acting a little bit too crazy. The student likes school and likes class, but isn't having the "time of his or her life" as others said would be the case. The student has made some friends, but has not developed too many real close relationships because he or she mostly concentrates on school work. After a while that student may start to wonder why everyone was ranting and raving about college the summer before. Perhaps it's there's not something wrong with university; perhaps the student is the problem. He or she may ask: why don't I go out to parties like I see many other kids doing? Why don't I try to pick up girls like other kids on my floor? Why do they have so much fun? What's different between me and them?
    And it's possible that out of this mentality, that student could turn to what he perceives as "normal" and later begin to drink and party in order "to fit in."
    There are also other cases where someone gets exposed to alcohol and such partying for the first time as a Freshman. He or she gets caught up in Greek life and parties and could come to the false conclusion that this is what college is all about. This is what people find fun. This is it. They'd be wrong, but it's hard for people to understand what they don't really see or believe in.
    These are definitely only a couple of many, many different possible cases, but they really all point to one thing: that people's perception of college is very important. If they don't find a niche or a social group relatively soon, they might just go with a stereotype they know, or what they perceive most kids do. They might be self-conscious and follow the students they find "cool or popular" or perhaps they aren't very social and can be manipulated by certain social ideas and ideals quite easily. Either way, the population of the "party group" may grow, but only due to students who have "lost their bearings socially" and don't know where else to go.

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  3. Last comment: from a Sophomore

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  4. You went to college for one year...where do you get all these generalizations from? As you get older, college changes-your college experience changes. Your blog is somewhat inane since your only knowledge of college is a brief and seemingly unhappy year. Stop grandstanding and go back to school so you can actually know what you're talking about

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  5. Yes, that's very true, I've only been to college for one year, and it's possible (and most likely) that my views will change later in life.

    However, I have older siblings that I've talked to, and I have also been talking to many students who are either currently attending college or have recently graduated. Some agree with me while others do not, but, regardless of their opinions, most think it's an interesting subject that they'd like to hear more about.

    But that still doesn't change the fact that I have only been to university for one year. As I said before, my views will most likely change as I age; nevertheless, it's just as possible that your views of college may change as you get older and have children of your own. It's really hard to tell. As of now, I'm just writing about what I think and what incites I have to date. For the most part, I'm simply interested in knowing what others think about those thoughts.


    Thanks for your comment, I do appreciate it. You've brought up a very valid point.

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