We all know that here at Boston College students operate on a “work hard, play hard” motto. The weekdays are spent on lockdown in O’Neill and Bapst, working and learning as much as we can. Then the weekend comes, and the math major student who can explain elaborate and complicated theorems seems slightly incoherent and unintelligible.
Based off this typical occurrence, some criticize that the social scene at BC leads to the abandonment of intellectual stimulation in favor of shallow partying. First of all, is there anything that wrong with some shallow partying every once in a while. Secondly, who says that partying and intellectual conversation cannot be intertwined?
The weekend nights at Boston College seem to be dominated by on- and off-campus parties or the bar scene. A lot of these parties appear crowded, possibly dark and, on the surface, to lack any intellectual merit. Sure, some people can be mindless, but is it really fair to generalize everyone that way? Is it fair to say that the parties are replacing intellectual activities?
One could argue that students would rather go out and party on the weekend, maybe get their dance on, over attending more culturally rewarding events. However, it is very easy to do both. From personal experience, I’ve enjoyed a culture show or an a capella group performance early on in the night before moving on to something else. It’s more than manageable to do it all, the intellectual and cultural stimulation and the “shallow” partying.
Shallow has a negative connotation for pretty much all the time, unless you can’t swim and you are talking about going into a pool. Just because parties aren’t necessarily intellectually stimulation though does that make them detrimental. No, not at all. We all need “shallow” pleasures in life, whether it’s a television show or a trashy book series. Our brains cannot be challenged all the time and shallow pleasures act as “brain candy” and relieve some of the bitter stresses of life.
Parties have a certain value. They are a great way to meet new people and form new relationships. You are bound to engage in some form of small talk and as awkward and uncomfortable as that may be for some people, you are getting to know them. Additionally, it’s a good way to bond with current friends and form memories that you can talk about weeks, months and even years from now.
Parties, while they may encourage the hook up culture, also can help form new friendships and cement current ones. Also, multiple studies have show that dancing can make you smarter, so if you’re dancing at a party, you probably are going to do better on that midterm next week too.
Who says that a social scene that revolves around parties can’t be intellectual as well. Plenty of times I have found myself, as I’m sure you have too, at a party where I am isolated with a small group talking about some sort of social issue.
In fact, at a party you are more likely to be around a more diverse group of people than your immediate groups of friends. It is highly possible that you will hear new opinions and points of views on various different topics. Even as a freshman, I feel like I gain such a different perspective and insight by talking to upperclassmen.
Going out on the weekends also helps develop social skills. Even though a person’s substance is more important than their style, knowing how to be social and work a crowd can help you out in life. In other words, going to parties and being social can really help build charisma and “street smarts.”
While developing street smarts may not be an intellectual endeavor, there is value in it. I’ve witnessed first hand people with higher SAT scores and a degree from a better institution that pale in comparison to charismatic, “street smart” leaders in regards to financial success.
While I defend going to parties on the weekends, I acknowledge that it is definitely not all that you should be doing. Obviously academics come first, but there is a huge variety of ways that you can spend your weekend. Be sure to mix it up, attend some school produced plays, culture shows etc. We are fortunate that we can go into Boston for a concert, sports game, or one of the many other events that occur in the city every weekend.
There is some form of value to each experience that we have, even party experiences. Whether we learn from the experience, build a relationship, or gain new points of view there is a certain merit that we take away. So while some might say our social scene encourages shallow partying, know that shallow partying isn’t all that bad. It can in fact help us grow both socially and intellectually.