“I just want to be liked!”

A UA freshman wrote a sad letter to the editor in today’s issue of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He suggested having feelings of alienation for being among the small UA student population that does not drink to have a good time, and he believes the UA should accommodate this circle of people more:

UA should reach out to students who don’t fit ‘party’ mold

When I walk around campus, I see students hanging out with groups of people and I wonder, how did they get such a large social network? An incoming freshman’s social life heavily revolves around alcohol and partying. But what about the students who don’t want to party? They are left feeling bored and lonely because the only option for socializing is something that they are not interested in. The UA should examine this group of people. What programs does the university provide for them?

Many people cannot wait to go to college and have a great time, whether it be studying the major they intend to go into or socializing. But what about students who do not really fit into that environment? Not everyone thinks the same way about college. When going to college, students realize that they have freedom that they won’t have back home. Many incoming students think that they need to party hard, smoke or even consume alcohol, but there are some people who are looking for something different.

People do not realize that there is a small population of incoming freshman that do not fit into the social and party picture, whether they are shy or they just do not like to do it. Having alcohol and other things be the iconic image of college makes the non-social students afraid and extremely lonely since they feel like they do not fit in with this environment. Giving incoming students who do not want to get involved in alcohol an alternative would help students transition better.

I would love to see a group of people who are not interested in partying or hanging out. For instance, what about university sponsored socials? What about Friday night bowling events, organized dinners, local concerts – information easily available on campus? The university needs to offer something that embraces these non-partying students. The university has a responsibility to provide students with access to experiences that are enjoyable and safe.

Steven Mikhail
undeclared freshman

He’s not looking hard enough if he thinks that the UA only caters to alcoholic students. For one, Residence Life and UA campus administrators monitor underage drinking and have rules about the amount of alcohol allowed on campus. UA officials aren’t pampering the crazy students at all. These people just congregate and create their own fun.

As someone who doesn’t drink, I know it’s still possible to make the most out of college. I go to all the same parties, I just don’t have to drink along with everyone else. I see no reason to exclude my drinking friends from my life, so he should be more open-minded about the kinds of friends he wants to have.

He can join one of the hundreds of UA clubs on campus, volunteer at Ben’s Bells on University Blvd., get a job, or go to the Campus Rec, where he can find out about all the outdoor trips planned by the UA every semester. There’s so much this campus has to offer, so he’s obviously not looking in the right places if he thinks the UA is only made up of alcoholics and programs made for partying. When I first came to the UA, I joined the Newman Center Catholic Church, where I met a bunch of nice students who also didn’t drink on the weekends. I have friends who party in all sense of the word, and that doesn’t matter to me because I don’t drop friends simply because they smoke weed and I don’t.

There are tons of interesting, great people at this university, and they’re worth getting to know if they drink or not. It’s silly to exclude the drinking population simply because you do not drink yourself. They won’t penalize you for being sober.

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4 thoughts on ““I just want to be liked!”

  1. So wait, he wants to be friends with a group of people who don’t like “hanging out”? How does that even work? It reminds me of the Monty Python sketch about the hermit community.

  2. He wants to be friends with people who don’t have to drink to have fun. In my experience, no one has ever pressured me into drinking, so even if I’m with a group of drinkers, I’m not really ostracized for staying out of it. He doesn’t seem to realize that he can take the same approach. It’s unrealistic to search for friends who don’t drink. They’re around, but I wouldn’t base my friendships off that ideal, and he can look harder if he really wants to find people who don’t drink.

  3. My experience has been: I don’t drink, so I am not invited to any parties. Say what you want, the assumption with people I’ve met seems to be that if you’re averse to alcohol you must be a buzzkill or a rat out to sick the UAPD on the underagers, or that you just don’t want to be around others who drink, which can be true at times. I like my clothes vomit-free, TYVM.

    So I don’t know where the parties are, and thus I don’t get to have the social network that comes with parties. I think that is what Steven was getting at, though his solution of more UA-sponsored stuff is faulty. Unless you’ve got Jay-Z marching onto campus (and with ticket sales as they are I guess EVEN IF you have Mr. Carter), the UA-sponsored parties are lacking for attendees.

  4. You’re right, Jimi. That’s why you don’t have to completely advertise the fact that you don’t drink. I don’t wear it like a badge of honor and I try not to patronize people, even though it has happened in the past. But really, though, do you want to be friends with people who are shallow enough to not hang out with you just because you drink? There are definitely people that have ignored me for that reason, but many of my friends drink and invite me to their parties regardless. It’s hit or miss and all about the people.

    The parties are everywhere. I believe you’re a freshman, correct? Lots of freshmen invade the Greek houses, and then they soon learn that there are better places to spend their weekends at. House parties are more fun and there’s genuine interaction that doesn’t have to involve random hook-ups that frat parties are notorious for having.

    Steven did get his point across. It can feel unsettling to not drink in college. Most people drink and it’s hard to find a group of people that click. I doubt the UA will host any parties, however, and if they did, the parties probably wouldn’t attract a large audience.

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