#BreakingtheStereotype: I've Never Been to a College Party

There is no doubt in my mind that if you gave a word association test to nearly any group of people, “college” would come up as synonymous with “parties”. They’re so commonplace at some campuses that the learning institutions themselves are dubbed “party schools,” and red Solo cups have become as much of a symbol for higher education as textbooks or sports team pennants. All this talk of parties, which are going on seemingly everywhere and all the time, and yet I have not been to a single one.

This fact doesn’t necessarily bother me, as I know that I’m pretty unlikely to enjoy your average college party. I don’t need to experience one to know that it’s not really my jam, especially with how commonplace illicit substances have become at them. A chill binge-watching session with a friend or a walk in the park are genuinely more appealing to me than sharing constant close-quarters with a bunch of strangers (who also may or may not be under the influence of something). Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure there’s a party out there that suits my tastes a little more; I just either haven’t found it yet or I haven't been invited. After all, I love dancing and loud music (rock concerts are a favorite outing of mine), and that’s usually a pretty big facet of parties. I simply don’t care for the other stuff that accompanies the dancing and the music.

In addition to the whole not-so-legal substances thing, what bothers me most about college party culture is the assumptions people seem to make about you when they learn you haven’t been to a party. There seems to be some weird general consensus that if you don’t party, then you’ve got a boring personality. Or maybe you’re a goody two-shoes, or a narc, or antisocial, or a number of other things with negative connotations. But why is this? Why is every 20-something in the country with student loans and sleep deprivation obligated to go out and get drunk? By all means, do what you want to do and party hard. Have fun, be safe and live your life. Just don’t make me feel like my social life is lacking because I don’t go out drinking every weekend, or every Thursday night because, oddly enough, that seems to be a popular time to hold parties.

Now, instead of making this an unsolicited rant about why I’m not boring (which I most definitely am not, thank you very much), I’d like to address a few things: why is introversion so often seen as negative? The same goes for an indifference or aversion toward partying, which is something that doesn’t seem all too common in my experience. And why have parties become all about the drinks and less about the fun? Being a relatively introverted person with relatively introverted friends, I would like to point out that introversion doesn’t mean you have some set collection of personality traits. I think most interests and personal qualities span all the way across the introversion-extroversion spectrum. It’s just that some of us recharge our batteries by mingling with others, and some of us recharge by spending some time alone.

As for party fun and games, I am very much an advocate for the resurrection of childhood birthday parties, meaning that I’m tired of having limited choices when planning celebrations. It seems that my options are an intense rave, a stuffy dinner party or nothing.  The adult community is far less embracing of piñatas and Hello Kitty paper plates than I’d care to admit, but darn it, I don’t see why we had to grow out of those things! I’d take a bowling party or Mom-designed scavenger hunt over any other party that adult life has to offer. What’s fun is what’s fun, and I’m all about being festive. Bring on the confetti, baby.

All in all, while I know not everyone makes these sorts of assumptions about non-partiers, I do think it’s time we recognize the fact that there is more than one way to enjoy socializing during your college experience. And hey, if you need to limit socializing purely because it’s draining for you, then do it! Regardless of what movies would have us believe about college (I’m looking at you, Animal House) the campus does not actually revolve around partying.  You’re not missing out on anything unless it’s truly something you want to do, and there shouldn’t be any pressure to waste your time with things you don’t enjoy. Do your own thing, girl!

And seriously, piñatas are underrated.