I am sitting at the bar, alone. Constantly shoving the cold bottle to my lips and keeping my cigarette properly ashed are the two things distracting me from the evening news. I dare not look. Looking into the depths of a used toilet might be more productive than watching the onslaught of reporting on the presidential race.
Tweedldee and Tweedledum, the two girls to my left, are having a most interesting conversation. I cannot help myself from tuning in. It is a triumphant dialogue – a personal boozography – of their time in college. House hopping at Virginia Tech, bar crawling the streets of University of Maryland, and fratting it up down at Radford are among the highlights.
And then, as I’ve heard it a million times before – a statement that has come to define Mason – they end with: “OMG, Mason just doesn’t know how to party.” They are not the first and will certainly not be the last to utter these words.
What the Mason community most commonly misunderstands is the farfetched idea that, one, Mason is not a party school, and two, the student population should strive to make Mason’s party community similar to those of other collegiate institutions.
It’s as if the Mason party crowd believes in a religious, booze driven doctrine which Mason is unable to follow. On Friday and Saturday nights, the complainants load up on a smorgasbord of booze, all the while having a blast with their friends. They then turn around Sunday morning and make their arduous claims that Mason is a crappy place to party. It’s like they’re a kobe steak, and the whole time they’re eating it, their complaining about how much they hate beef. It doesn’t make sense.
With that said, I will certainly acknowledge that Mason is not your typical party school. No, we do not have a football team, frat row, or a bounty of off-campus housing, but these are superficial constructs anyways. If you wanted a school whose weekends are driven by the typically played-out party scene, then you should have gone to Virginia Tech.
But those who have embraced Mason for what it is have come to realize the following: Mason is whatever you make it. If you’re into the big parties, we have them. If small social gatherings are your thing, they’re there too. If the bar scene is your element, that’s an option. And if you’re into the whole going into the big city thing, we also have that. The fact that Mason has such diverse opportunities for the college partier makes it unique.
Our ethnic diversity is also a game changer. Yeah, I get it, most college students are content with the stereotypical American party – beer bong and all. However, Mason gives you the chance to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. And believe me: they know how to throw down. Seeing how other cultures cut loose is an opportunity rarely afforded to those who attend colleges out in the middle of nowhere.
If anything, Mason is the party school. It is a place where all types of partiers are welcome, no matter your cup of tea. Perhaps we are not the loud, in-your-face, college institution. But we don’t need to be because that already exists. Drive 66 West, and 81 South and you’ll find it.
Mason’s party scene is about doing something different. I hope that future students realize this, and in the end, embrace it. We must be proud of what we have, and recognize that if we try to be something we are not, we will always be left feeling empty.
For those who still feel Mason is a desolate shell with regards to our party habits, I have only one question for you: what were you doing Friday night? Because I sure had a great time. Cheers!