When I attended community college, I became an inside joke with my friends because I didn’t go out that often. If you stayed in on the weekend, or avoided a party because you had too much work, or weren’t feeling up for it, you “sounded like Katie.” While I dedicated myself to getting good grades, and completing all my assignments, I wasn’t an antisocial person—I just didn’t want to go to parties every weekend.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most extroverted person. I’m naturally quiet and reserved, and it takes time for me to feel comfortable around new groups of people. On top of that, I pledged that I’d hold myself to higher academic standards in college. In high school, I received a mix of As and Bs with a few scattered Cs. Naturally, my introverted personality and dedication to academics leaves partying, and the nightlife infrequent occasions.
Yet whenever I hear my friends, or other students in the Iwasaki library share their stories of weekend partying and debauchery, a rush of anxiety and remorse hits me. I wonder if I am cheating myself out of youth. Each time I get invited out but choose not to go, I nearly send myself into a panic attack, and fret over what I might miss if I stay in. I constantly wonder if friends talk about me in private, and mock me the same way as my old friends at community college did. A common argument I hear from students is that if you don’t party while you’re in college, you’re missing out on all the fun that comes with your early adulthood years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely a homebody, and I do go out to bars on some weekends. But the constant chase of partying each weekend is not a priority of mine, nor should it be. For some, the balance of academics and partying comes naturally—they’ll find a way to squeeze in a term paper somewhere. However, I am just not that type of person.
But I also believe that college is a time to step out of one’s comfort zone in a healthy manner. I’m not arguing that students should isolate themselves and resent those who choose to party each weekend, but that each person is allowed to have their own boundaries and limits within a social atmosphere. Sometimes stepping out of one’s comfort zone and going to a large party is vital to personal growth. If we never step out of our comfort zones, if we never take a risk or try something new, we miss out on all of the possibilities that those experiences could have provided us. However, there’s a difference between expanding one’s comfort zone, and partaking in something that clearly doesn’t bring them joy. It’s not that I don’t party because I’m apprehensive, it’s because I just don’t always enjoy it.
I believe that “no means no” is applicable to more than just consensual sex—it also applies to personal boundaries, and respecting people’s decisions to engage in activities and events. People’s reasons for staying in range from academic work, financial constraints, and even mental health. Guilt-tripping individuals for staying in can make them feel needlessly self-conscious.
Personally, I find staying in on most weekends crucial for my mental health. I spend a significant amount of my weekends in the Iwasaki Library, editing articles, reviewing notes, working on a publishing project, or completing miscellaneous tasks that slipped through during the week. To avoid cramming, hectic late nights, and anxiety, I’m constantly catching up—and even getting ahead on my work—on the weekends. Thus, my idea of de-stressing afterward usually consists of a night in watching movies, listening to music, or reading.
For other students, staying in on the weekend may be a matter of financial constraints—an issue that plagues many low-income college students across the country. Last week, we published an op-ed by sophomore Emily Cardona who detailed her struggle to go out on the weekends because of a lack of money. Cardona stated how even Ubers and Lyfts—basic transportation options—were unaffordable under her tight budget and that the T closes at 12:30 a.m. Thus, students must either get a car, walk, or take the bus home after a late night out.
With Emerson tuition again on the rise, I want to get the most out of my primary reason for attending Emerson—academics. I dedicate myself to all of my courses whether I enjoy the subject matter or not, and I highly value my position as opinion editor here at the Beacon. Personally, I am unwilling to push my work for these courses and my co-curricular aside for a night out. For some, this may be doable—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that—but it just doesn’t match with my personality.
Every student de-stresses and rewards themselves on the weekends differently. For some, the satisfaction of academic accomplishments outweighs a night out. For others, partying and socializing recharges them. There is no right or wrong answer for how to enjoy your college years. But at the end of the day, guilt-tripping someone is not only manipulative, it makes individuals feel self-conscious over issues that are sometimes out of their control. No student should feel forced to party, or participate in something they feel uncomfortable doing—nor should they ever feel ashamed for it.