What It’s Like Being Sober At A Frat Party

If you choose to drink, that is okay. If you choose not to drink, that is okay too. No matter what be safe and have a good time. However, when you typically are one to drink at parties, choosing not to can be a sobering experience (pun intended). Being one of the few without a drink in hand at a frat party is something that I strongly believe everyone needs to do at least once in their life. Not because of the thrill or the fun of it, but because of the elevated sense of awareness it gives you. This feeling lasts long after your ears stop ringing from rave music or your friends sober up the next morning. Last Friday, I decided to give it a try more or less willingly. My night started after a week of battling the “Penn State plague” which in reality is just the worst cold ever. I have major FOMO and wasn’t about to miss the chance to go out on a Friday night so I popped some DayQuil knowing that with that in my system it would be a really bad idea to drink heavily (like really bad, don’t do it). Tonight, I convinced myself I would have the time of my life: sober. So with a water bottle in one hand and a pack of tissues in my clutch I headed out for a completely sober night of partying. Here’s exactly what that was like.


1. I Kept An Eye Out For Everyone

It’s important to keep an eye on your friends at a party no matter what, but when you’re sober they’re not the only ones you’re focused on keeping safe. You find yourself wondering if that group of girls in the corner actually wants to be talking to that frat boy that shimmied his way in to their circle. You cringe a little watching the drunken boy in the center of the crowd shotgun a Natty Light. You reach your arm out to steady the incredibly drunk person falling off the table and check to make sure the girl that did is ok. You keep an eye on how many drinks your friends consume and make sure they’re not going too overboard. You bring the girl who fell on the floor multiple times a bottle of water. You’re not only the mom of your friend group, but also the mom of the party, which is a daunting task at a frat.


2. I Noticed Everything That Happened

When you’re one of the few people at a party that still has their conscious thoughts it’s hard not to observe everything going on around you. Especially when your friends pull you on an elevated surface that overlooks the entire dance floor. You dance alongside sweaty people and sing along to music that makes your ears buzz hours after you leave the house. I noticed and feared the extremely thin board under my feet far more than I would have in another state of mind, sure that the boy jumping up and down inches behind me would cause it to snap. I noticed each couple and each group of friends. I could tell who truly was having the time of their lives and who wanted nothing more than to leave. For the first time I noticed the people standing in the corners by themselves, on their phones, probably waiting for friends who were having a far better time than they were.


3. I Eventually Got Really Bored

I was so bored that I pulled out my phone and started jotting down ideas for this article and was using Snapchat to communicate with my friends from back home about how bored I was. The group I showed up with danced and screamed to the music alongside me while I barely moved my hips or lips. At 1 a.m. while my friends were still partying hard, I for one wanted nothing more than to be back in my dorm at East halls.


4. I Got To Listen To My Friend’s Drunken Conversations On The Walk Back

OK, so you can obviously do this drunk too but sober is completely different. It’s way more difficult to jump into what they’re talking about, so you listen far more than usual. You pick up on how much they’re slurring their words and laugh at the drunken jokes they make, which is actually still hilarious while being sober.


5. Canyon Pizza Did Not Live Up To My Sober Expectations

The first time I had Canyon Pizza was after midnight on my way back to East Halls after my first frat party. My roommate and I decided to check out the place that the boys walking in front of us were raving about and after waiting in line, thought that we had discovered the holy grail of pizza joints. After that Canyon became a drunken ritual after a long night spent at fratland and I didn’t want the fact that I was sober to change that. Unfortunately, it did. Canyon is not that good sober, which was a major disappointment. That being said, Canyon is still one of the best places to get food after midnight in State College and I will forever be a loyal customer… after enough drinks.


6. I Made Sure Everyone Got Home Safe

This is something you should always do no matter how many drinks you’ve had, but by being sober I felt a far greater responsibility to make sure everyone made it back in one piece. (And they did)!


7. I Still Belted Out “Closer” by The Chainsmokers

Drinking is a personal choice and should be done safely or not at all. Power to you if you can enjoy a frat party sober, power to you if you can’t. But when you’re used to drinking with your friends and then for whatever reason remains ‘the sober one,’ the experience is simply what you make of it. For me, it wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had at a frat party, but it was a learning experience that I recommend everyone have at least once in their years as a student. It isn’t great, but not all nights need to be legendary. Sober or not, when the song “Closer” by The Chainsmokers comes on you will be belting out every lyric because no matter what when you’re dancing the night away with great people, you “ain’t ever getting older.”


Don’t be afraid to have fun with your friends, while still being in control of yourself and others, the most important thing is to be safe out there and have fun while doing it! Dance the night away, collegiettes!