This past weekend, I climbed a mountain. Admittedly, I thought I was going to drop dead for the first half hour or so of the hike, but I did it nonetheless. And once I was able to breathe, I saw the beauty of the footpaths we were climbing. At the top, it felt like we were looking at the rest of the world, from the magnitude of our vision. The clouds seemed to be moving just beyond our grasp. There is something exhilarating and inexplicably poetic about that kind of experience. I won’t pretend it was Everest, because it wasn’t. But anyone who has reached the peak, beat the rapids, arrived in the rising or setting sun, can appreciate the awe-inspiring power of nature.
I arrived back on campus just in time to get the best night’s sleep of my recent memory and spend the following “lazy Sunday” catching up on all the work I had neglected for the opportunity to sleep in a lean-to. I think in the minds of many college students that would be a weekend sadly lost. That, if someone were to conversationally ask me what I did last weekend, the response would be more naturally received as an explanation of why I didn’t do anything, rather than an account of how I spent my weekend. And after the wonderful weekend I’ve had, that seems profoundly sad to me.
I think we get caught up in exploiting every possible moment that can be used towards the extreme in college. In finding the best parties and trying to consume the most alcohol, we forget that there are other options available in life, and that we even sincerely enjoyed those activities before it became so easy to do things our parents frown upon. Answer this honestly: do you decide not to go to events that sound interesting to you because they coincide with the period of time you like to spend partying? It seems to me that on a campus that on at least some days, and certainly stereotypically, there are ‘a million things to do’, everything falls to the wayside when a Greek letter is mentioned.
There is nothing wrong with going to parties, or finding your way to the Jug. I certainly don’t plan on discontinuing these activities. But isn’t it possible that you didn’t just enjoy more wholesome fun when you were younger simply because you hadn’t experienced college yet? It isn’t a crime to spend a weekend night or even an entire weekend sober, and you shouldn’t feel the need to give an excuse for doing so, or expect one from someone else. You might miss out on some really amazing experiences if you decline any and all for the possibility of a party.
I don’t regret “missing” last weekend. There will almost always be wardrobe doors in my hallway and the smell of vinegar in the stairwell. I took a chance on something new instead. I slept outside, ate with a spork, and exerted myself enough to get up a mountain – and I liked it. Who would’ve thought?