High School was pretty much everything that college is not.
The workload was way harder, naps were craved so much harder, the food was worse (how does that even happen?), girls were hotter, guys were smarter; one thing crossed my mind daily, beginning roughly the third week of school – this alternate universe was everything I had dreamed it would be. My roommate and I had managed to snag the top-notch, elitist dorms at the University of Arkansas, the Maple collection. The West side of Maple might as well have been the college equivalent of the West Egg, all within walking distance of two dining halls and well within stumbling distance of all the dorm parties.
Yeah, I remember my first dorm party.
I had sworn to myself that I would be top of my class right off the bat, and I probably had the same, down-right unrealistic ambitions as the majority of every other young woman rolling to and from campus my Freshman year. That total classy sorority babe with the 4.0, party frequenter and peer tutor. Funny how things work out, considering that my college life became almost everything but.
Leaving High School with a 3.7 and 13th in my class left me feeling, to say the least, confident. Back in the days of teachers and chalkboards, I took pride in being dubbed as part of the “nerd herd” whose idea of fun was a Friday night study and movie party, or maybe a rip to Dillard’s to try on all the expensive hats before one of us had to run and catch the ABC marathon of Star Wars. *cough* Kayla.
Proudly, I never spiraled as I saw so many other students do my Freshman year. My first unfamiliar Friday was a party, tucked away inside of The Quads – predominantly an athletic dorm – with a bunch of guys who were definitely not athletes. We all awkwardly sat around and commented on the crude wall hangings, my roommates politely accepting an illegal drink or two. I shook my head and muttered the vastly unpopular phrase: “No thanks, I don’t drink”. I was pretty much ready to leave within the first fifteen minutes of my arrival, suddenly with the urge to go try on funky hats in Dillard’s. My roommates wandered off to another gathering while I curled up in bed that night, lulled to sleep by the ever-relaxing sound of drunken fraternity guys wolf-whistling at a group of young women making their way back home for the night. I’d never thought I could be more content in the comfort of my lofted bed, but I was soon proven wrong.
Halloween functions were a mystery, but the horror stories had been enough to excite me to the point of going.
So, what? One rotten dorm party just couldn’t ruin me for the rest of my college life, right? Besides, who didn’t love a good costume party? My roommates and I wandered up to the loft of my date’s dorm room and were soon greeted with beer and his roommate who reeked of beer. Three hours later, I had a lovely, refined definition of “Halloween function” – loud, sweaty men and women all within dangerously close proximities. After a kind offer to be slept with on three separate occasions, sore feet and a random bruise on my left thigh, that lofted bed had never sounded more like heaven in all my life.
I slept soundly and all the way through class the next morning. Something clicked that function, that year, that afternoon that I woke up (after never so much as having a drop of alcohol) feeling like I’d been nailed by a semi. I was not a partier. In fact, I was probably the finest case of a professional homebody that I’d ever known.
If there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that I go after my passions with full force – and I did.
By Sophomore year, I had successfully never attended another party. At all. Truthfully, I’m proud. Studying became more frequent, and so did Netflix on a rainy Saturday night and chats with mom, all of the same pleasures frequent party-goers can also enjoy. People tell me consistently that I’m missing out on the college experience, and I have to strongly disagree. I would much rather remember my night at home with a horror movie and my boyfriend than stumble down the stairs of a Frat house and into the arms of some creepy rando. Take what you want from your college experience – but remember, you only get one.
Sometimes that “one chance” just translates differently for some women, and that’s A-okay.