Let me first start off by saying, I currently have about 6 other assignments I should and could be working on right now. So yeah, I am writing this post to get my mind off of Court Hearings and Edgar Allan Poe.
I want to discuss something that I just can’t seem to escape from. Every time I think I’ve been released from its grasp I’m snatched, wrestled to the ground, and ultimately end up surrendering to it like some type of coward. I’ve tried over and over to make peace with it but it doesn’t mesh well with my personality so it is difficult. I am an introvert, and as an introvert I do introvert things like minding my own business, and hiding away from people and social functions. so imagine my dismay as an introverted high schooler being thrust-ed right into college life’s very reason for existing, and an introverts social hell: Fraternities.
Ah yes, frat parties, where you drink the cheapest beer on the face of the earth and the most water down “sangria/grape juice with old fruit floating in it” known to man. Where you end up always getting sick from the stifling stale and pungently ripe air of weed, booze, and ball sweat. Where the brothers pants are loose before they even have time to pop some drugs in your “sangria”, and where your morals go to be laid to rest every Friday and Saturday night. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to harass people you barely know to get you signed up on the “list” of people honorable enough to attend this gathering, keep in mind that all of this is taking place in an old building with no windows, barely any fire exits, and thats so claustrophobic that it should come with a trigger warning on the front door. Frat parties are an extroverts dream because it has everything they want people, attention, and distraction from the loneliness in their lives that can’t emotionally deal with. While introverts like myself, think of frat parties as a necessary evil on their journey to fool the world into thinking that they are “normal” and “just like everyone else.”
So in hindsight, unless you are someone who has really no friends or friends that are down to being socially outcasted, you will have to at some point attend a frat party during your college experience. When you do you will be undoubtedly fall within the boundaries of the two types of college students at said frat parties. You’ll either be the one that loves every second of it, drinks all night long, makes out with anything that has a heart beat, and talks about how much fun you had during your weekly “hangover breakfast” the next day. ORRRRR you might be like me, the person who goes to this party because it is socially unacceptable to not go, you haven’t left your room or talked to people in 12 days, and you feel like you might be missing out. So despite your agony of dressing up and pretending to enjoy yourself, you go and you try to make the best of it ..(while secretly watching the time to figure out when is the earliest but still latest time for you to acceptably leave the party.)
But why? Why do college students, specifically young women in college like myself feel that they must go to frat parties?
I have come to the conclusion that frat culture has become so much of what society has constructed the “average” college experience to be that if we don’t participate, we feel “below average.” College is synonymous with with drinking and partying, so much so that we almost feel that thats what we are supposed to do in College. Movies, TV shows, and social media depict college to be “the best time of your life.” Now while this may be true, there is more to college life than becoming blindly drunk, stupid, and sexually ravenous during a frat party. In fact, college is also supposed to be about building lasting friendships and connections but fraternaties are the last place to look for anything that isn’t for face value. There is no depth, meaning, no loyalty at a frat party. it is a dim and skimming the surface of what we are really looking for, and that is interaction.
College’s rigorous academics and millennials very short attention span have been a in a way attributing to the frat culture epidemic. College students are told that college is supposed be fun but then find out that it is fucking hard, and anything but fun for 95% of the time. So, when there is time for play, College students aren’t picky and they don’t give a fuck they just want to go harder than a motherfucker because fuck it thats why. Combine this with the fact that my generation are so use to the instant gratification that social media has allotted us our whole lives, and the fact that we have no money, we want fun now… like right now, and we want it as cheap as possible.
Hence the birth of frat culture. The beginning of a new era of students desperately wanting that fun and those connections but don’t or CAN’T put in the effort to do what past generations did. we don’t have money for the bar or the movies every Friday night. We don’t have the time between all of the 800 assignments due tomorrow to spend hours just leisuring it up in coffee shops, or skate parks, or museums in search of like minded people. We just don’t and so we do what we know best: fake it. We’ve all been living fake lives online for years so all of this pretending means nothing to us. Frat culture is like the Facebook of social events, everyone is there but nobody really cares about the thoughts and opinions of others. Everyone there is faking their coolness and just wants to fit in or run away from their problems.
Even frat brothers that I have had a chance to chat it up with don’t even seem to be having that much fun. Yet, they pay ridiculous dues and put on a mask for the sake of popularity? importance? an identity? That I honestly couldn’t tell you. What I do know is frat parties have allowed college students to have the cloud 9 feeling of fun and friendship without the work having to be put in.
As an introvert, and someone who does not like frat parties, I always reflect on my experiences at them because self reflection is a huge part of my coping with social anxiety. I’ve come to the conclusion that even though Frats are the bane of college existence, they do give that which we have a difficult time achieving on our own, and that is a real fucking break. Like I said, college is fucking hard and college students need a break from that every once in a while. I don’t personally like or support frats but if you find joy and meaning in your lived experiences with them, who the fuck am I to judge.