It goes without saying, but college is stressful.
As students, we are constantly burdened with the pressure of maintaining decent grades in four to six different classes, participating in extracurricular activities, having an adequate social life, juggling both platonic and romantic relationships, maintaining contact with family and essentially being broke (the cost of school is ridiculous, but that’s a discussion for another column).
All of these factors combined can understandably be a cause of stress, depression and anxiety for many of us. The National Student Clearinghouse reports that a quarter of students drop out after their freshman year, and it’s not exactly rocket science as to why that’s the case. For many, poor time management causes them to drop out.
Because of the emotional roller coaster college is, it’s natural for many of us to indulge in weekends filled with hedonism and debauchery. Partying is a prominent, exciting part of the culture not only here at USC, but at most universities across America. After a week of studying and homework, going out in your cleanest fit with a group of close friends and getting lit until the sun comes up grants much-needed reprieve. In short, it’s a crucial form of escapism and stress relief, if only for a night or two.
Many kids who come to a giant university like USC are jumping off the porch for the first time. Following roughly 18 years of being under the strict, unwavering jurisdiction of their parents’ household, this is their first taste of freedom and independence. It can be both thrilling and intimidating, especially when it comes to the party scene.
The atmosphere of college parties is undoubtedly different from high school parties in a multitude of ways. For one, the presence of alcohol and other substances is much more prevalent. Statistics have shown that 58% of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 have consumed alcohol in the past month and 37.9% binge drink.
As a student who had barely been exposed to alcohol or drugs before coming to college, my experience when I attended my first frat party as a freshman was definitely different from what I had been accustomed to, and I loved it.
I went out almost every weekend during my first couple of months as a freshman — constantly looking for the next move, buying different outfits for different occasions, planning the next girl I wanted to get with.
Don’t get me wrong: It was a fun, memorable time. However, I soon began devoting less time towards school work and too much time towards searching for my next thrill. I stopped showing up to one class altogether (which eventually led to me failing). My grade started to slip well below a B in another class because I wasn’t studying and turning in assignments on time. I quickly realized that I was prioritizing the wrong things (e.g., partying, girls), which took a toll on my grades, so I decided to chill out for a bit.
As I stated earlier, partying and having fun is necessary to temporarily escape the daunting pressures of college. Parties are also a great way to get your face out there and network with peers. Nonetheless, too much of anything can be detrimental. Moderation is key.
Students must remember that our primary motivation behind attending a university is to graduate with a degree in order to secure a job, and not allow play to interfere with work. While the nightlife of college is exhilarating (and ultimately exhausting), it isn’t necessary to go out every weekend or to attend every function. It’s okay to stay in your room sometimes and get ahead on schoolwork to reduce your workload for the coming weeks and, in turn, reduce your stress in a more productive way.
You aren’t missing anything, trust me. There will be another party next week with probably the same faces you see all the time, and another one the week after that.
To quote the words of famous street poet and philosopher Gucci Mane: “If you ain’t got no sauce then you lost, but you can also get lost in the sauce.” So, whatever you do, try not to get lost in the sauce.