[one_half]Overrated – Birju Dhaduk
You walk into the party through the door—after paying ten dollars—and go down the narrow staircase into a humid basement. As you attempt to make your way over to the bar, you run into a chain of girls holding hands and pushing their way towards the other end of the bar to get some jungle juice, a concoction of various juices and hard liquors.
Thirty minutes pass where you simply try to get to the front of the crowd, having to slowly shove your way in front of the other people, all the while sweating excessively and having no room to breathe. You finally reach the ledge of the bar after waiting for what seems like forever only to be served beer that tastes like tonic water. Then, in an attempt to regroup with the rest of your friends, a fourth of your cup finds its way onto the floor from bumping into other people before the drink even touches your lips.
Although the frats attempt to control the number of people inside the house, most of them end up being too crowded to enjoy, and the room fills up with hundreds of sweaty bodies rubbing against each other. The floors grow sticky as watered-down beer and jungle juice spill onto the ground as a result of people dropping cups and shoving each other. The music plays way too loud to have a coherent conversation with the person standing next to you without having to yell into their ear. All of this ruins the partying mood that frats strive to achieve in order to draw students to their houses.
The main reason most people go to frat parties is to hang out with friends and have fun while drinking. This can easily be done elsewhere, such as the Highlander Club (formerly known as the Highlander Pub) or in the students’ dorm rooms without the sweaty crowd and sticky floors. So, unless you can somehow convince yourself to enjoy the disastrous environment that is a frat party, it is definitely the better choice to avoid the Greek alphabet.
[one_half]Underrated – Sreya Sanyal
Walking up to my first frat party was terrifying. I went with a friend, and once he paid and we walked in we were greeted by a stairway that pulsed with music and dark light near the top. This was my first real opportunity to turn off my brain and unwind. What I felt during the day was overexposure, constantly being tuned in during class and sparkling in the evenings trying to make new friends.
Everywhere I went there were new people to meet, conversations I could have delivered in my sleep about my name, major, hometown and career plan. But in the dark, pulsing room of that party, I could finally breathe out. I could finally pause and unwind, feeling the kind of release I never knew I had needed.
The anatomy of a frat party is frequently the most criticized aspect: loud, crowded, dark, hot and lubricated with dubious refreshments. It seems that these components create a perfectly awful environment for meeting new people and socializing on an intellectual level. But that’s exactly what makes frat parties magnificent. For me, the draw of a party is the ability to connect with people on a more fundamental level—through shared love or hatred for the music, admiration or scorn for the attendees’ laughable antics or simply the shared frustration at the heat and scarce liquids.
In the dark, at midnight, there is never the question “What’s your major” or anything similarly inane. Yet the people I have met at parties are some of my closest friends. The only shared information at a party should be social media, so that the next day any partygoer can revel in the opportunity to either solidify these new connections, or let them pass by as ephemerally as the steamy night that forged the relationship.
Frat parties are underrated simply because they have a bad reputation. If you find yourself at a party that doesn’t have the vibe you want, leave! Most importantly, do not eat or drink anything you don’t want to. It is not necessary to be inebriated to have a good time, because your own inhibitions will fall away once you realize that no one is watching you. There is nothing more freeing than being alone in a crowded place, and it is truly a rare luxury in college. Don’t be afraid to have a good time, and see you next Thursday!