So You've Never Been to a College Party?

I’ve been on the college scene for three and a half years now, and I’d never been invited to the mythic standard “college party” until this Halloween. I’d seen depictions in movies, read about them online, heard of them and their epic-ness from acquaintances, but never actually been to a party. I assumed those sorts of gatherings were the places to be, where all the supposedly cool kids got together and partied ‘till the cows came home. You were a “somebody” if you went to one of those gatherings. You were “in.”


At least, that’s what freshman me thought. And I was friends with the crazy kids who went to these fabulous parties during my first year in college; but maybe they thought I wasn’t into that kind of thing, or maybe they didn’t know me well enough to feel comfortable inviting me, because I never went to one, not that anyone ever asked me to come.


So three years went by, and lo and behold, during my junior year the weekend before Halloween, I was invited to a party. By this time, I had sort of forgotten that people still did things like that (I'm usually too busy for anything other than studying, class, food, and sleep these days), so my first reaction was surprise. My second reaction was to geek out and accept the invitation. Finally! I could check that off my “College Experience To-Do List.”


I didn’t know what to expect. I tried to think of all the movies and books I’d ever viewed or read, realizing that these fanciful depictions were probably exaggerations. I tried remembering if my parents had ever been to parties in college, and if they had ever told me about it. I couldn’t remember- but when I texted them I was going, I got a message back telling me to be careful. That was a bit worrisome, what did I have to be careful about?


I guess I was partially expecting a wild orgy or debauched gathering filled with unimaginable horrors, but when I got to my friend’s apartment, there were five other people (her housemates) drinking and chatting in a tiny living room/kitchen area sparsely decorated with homemade Halloween decor. It was, to be completely honest, underwhelming. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to socialize, and it didn’t look like there was anything for me to be particularly careful about. I dove in, had a drink, and started in on the conversation.


Don’t worry, it ended up being a lot of fun, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I learned a lot too. For instance, did you know 12 fl oz of regular beer equals 8 to 9 fl oz of malt liquor, which both equal about one shot of 80+ proof spirits? And alcohol really does lower one’s inhibitions significantly. I always thought that was some kind of urban legend, never having been drunk myself or ever really in the company of the intoxicated.


The truth of the matter is, the mythical “college parties” we hear about aren’t what you think, unless you know somebody particularly good at throwing a party. Going to a gathering like this means some friends are getting together at someone’s house to listen to music, hang out, and drink a lot.


I’d never gotten drunk before, but after chugging down a few jello shots (Not my favorite), 95-proof vodka in a lot of iced tea (It literally smelled and tasted like a Sharpie. Anyone who can drink that stuff straight is either superhuman, or has a death-wish), a Blowjob (Alcoholic drinks can have some very highly entertaining names, like "Sex on the Beach," "Death in the Afternoon," or even "Duck Fart." I kid you not.), and a wonderful concoction of fruit-infused vodka and rum in apple juice (I’m a sucker for anything peach-flavored. It was pretty great), I was feeling pretty unusual.


I found that being drunk was actually nice. I finally understood what people meant when they said the world felt “soft” or they felt “good.” I felt really happy for no good reason, and I wasn’t terribly concerned that I was losing fine motor function as the night progressed, where normally I'd be horrified. I didn’t get hammered so that I couldn’t function properly, but I’d had enough that I was no longer able to play beer pong and I have good aim.


True to form, the wannabe biologist within couldn’t help but wonder what exactly what going on in my body, how the alcohol was influencing my neuronal activity, and if my liver was going to be able to handle everything I just drank. I found myself examining my own altered mental and physical states as a doctor might, rather than just chilling out at the party. If I was playing neuroscientist to myself, it was getting near time for me to sleep. And I wasn’t interested in getting any more drunk, so I excused myself- my friend offered to walk me home, and I took her up on it. I wasn’t in any danger of falling or doing something stupid, but being drunk on even the safest campus at night is probably not a good idea.


 While it was fun, it’s not something I’d do again- though I am glad I had the experience. I definitely feel like I learned a little more about the world. So what’s up next on my College Experience To-Do List? Probably something not involving alcohol; I think I'll stick to being a tea-totaller for now.


A caveat: Don’t go out and get drunk just because someone else thinks it’s a good idea. Stick to your personal morals, never do something you think is unsafe, and never go along with the herd because it’s the “cool” thing to do. That being said, don’t be afraid to try new things and have some fun.