Okay so I have to be 100% honest with you – I am not an expert when it comes to the college party scene.
My favorite college night hangouts included making cupcakes with girlfriends, watching chick-flicks, and chatting until 3am.
|(Actual cupcakes made by me and my friends in college. Yum.)
And I think one of my readers is the same way. Recently, I got the following e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org:
What do you do when everyone around just wants to go out downtown to bars and clubs and drink a lot and you're the Taylor-Swift girl in the corner that wants to see and do other things in the world besides that? It's getting kinda awkward and hard to find people who share my same interest, especially in a party university. It’s not that I don't enjoy a good party every now and then, because I do. I just don't want to do it every single weekend like a good majority of my college’s population does. What should I do?
While in college it can often seem like everyone is partying, the truth is that they’re not. It’s kind of like when you drive by the rich part of your area and you feel like everyone is richer than you. But in reality…it’s just the 1% and most people are driving beat-up cars and live in apartments. Realize that you’re not alone. There are people in your college who have similar interests as you; they may just be too hesitant to do something different – or they might be feeling alone too.
So with that in mind, below are my three tips to help you enjoy your college life while staying true to yourself, whatever your college party style may be:
1) Get involved in clubs. Most campuses have a wide variety of clubs, activities, and organizations that have a continual calendar of events and entertainment. They also tend to draw like-minded people. Diversifying your friendships is important, but when it comes to what you like to do on Friday night, it can be nice to have people around who enjoy the same things. Clubs are a great way to start. Keep trying different ones until they click – and then just start showing up to their events.
2) Be a planner. If you’re not that interested in the current invitations you’re getting, try being the one who is the inviter. Plan events and hangouts around what you enjoy doing, and then start inviting other people. You don’t have to have 20 people – in fact most of the best times often happen doing interesting things with a few close friends.
To start, there are always movies, concerts, and sports events (especially if your college has a great athletics program). You can also explore the area around you and try new things. Some of my favorite friend activities included paint-your-own pottery places, making jewelry, going to the beach, shopping consignment, finding new coffee shops, museums, riding roller coasters, and going to this place where you make your own pancakes on a grill right on your table.
|Enjoying the aquarium w/ some of my fav college friends.
And never underestimate a good night out with your friends at the Cheesecake Factory or Kobe’s (not paid advertisements…but I will take free cheesecake and fried rice for life).
3) Enjoy time alone. Things are always more fun when you are in control of how you are spending your time. Never feel like you have to go to an event just because it’s what 'everyone' is doing. Have the courage to stick to what is fun to you, and know that sometimes that may mean you’ll be alone for a few hours. Develop things you like to do on your own too, and know that when you turn down doing something that isn’t really your thing, you’re developing a kind of maturity that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
College should be fun and I encourage you to continue to find creative ways to have it. The key is to surround yourself with people who share your definition of fun, whatever it may be.
Trust me, they are out there. And they will be most attracted to hanging out with you when you are truly yourself and happily committed to doing what you love during your free time.