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Work hard, play hard: The pressure to party in college

Zara DeGroot

There are all sorts of pressure one feels before and during their college years. There is the pressure to meet people, to find your niche, to get a job, to earn straight A’s … the list goes on. One pressure that I think many of us feel, but one that doesn’t often get voiced, is the pressure to party. We’ve all heard it: “These are your college years, live it up,” or “don’t worry about it, it’s the college experience, everyone is doing it.” Not only has this been our mindset since forever, the media displays the college experience as nightlong, riotous parties. Movies like 21 & Over and 22 Jump Street glamorize the average college student drinking and doing drugs on the weekends in the name of having a good time. These representations aren’t completely accurate. Yes, this is college and many college kids party, but the party scene isn’t for everyone.

Weekends are for having fun, de-stressing after a week of classes and relaxing before a new one begins. Work hard, play hard, right? However, the definition of a good time is dependent on the individual.


When I was a freshman, practically everyone I knew talked about their weekend plans starting the Tuesday before. I almost felt obliged to partake because I was but a lowly freshman who did not want to spend yet another Friday night alone in my room with Arrested Development, nursing a bowl of stale cereal. I know I wasn’t the only one in this position. Why do we feel the need to give into that pressure of partying when partying isn’t even our type of fun?

A few Fridays ago, I went to Fly High Trampoline Park with a group of friends. We spent the evening running around with preteens, getting stuck in the foam pit and bouncing around to Katy Perry. To some, this may sound like the dumbest thing ever, and if you saw us you’d most definitely think so. But I was overjoyed. We had a great time because we are perfectly content with trampolines as our source of fun. It was a Friday night and $12 well spent.

If you’re the type of person who has a great time party hopping, you do you. If you can have the best time watching reruns of “Seinfeld,” awesome. If you find yourself at the trampoline gym every Friday evening, get a life. The point is, weekends are for enjoyment and finding leisure away from the world of academia. If you party each weekend out of default because you think it’s what the college student is supposed to do, then it might be time to re-evaluate your definition of a good time. You should feel no pressure to party into the wee hours of the morning if that isn’t your thing. The college experience is much more than that.

There is more to college than unruly parties and throwing up on the lawn. Believe it or not, there are other ways to spend your weekends. I stand by the philosophy that everyone needs a day off from doing school work in order to keep sane and to be productive for those other six days. But don’t waste your leisure time by giving into the pressure to party, especially if you aren’t finding enjoyment in it. Shamelessly spend your Fridays at the trampoline park.

Collegian columnist Zara DeGroot can be reached at or on Twitter @Zar_degroot. 

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