College parties: the one thing everyone looks forward to after graduating high school. Finally moving away from your parents and you can go out whenever you please. I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. I hadn’t partied or drank at all in high school, so college seemed like a big stepping stone. So, I had some big expectations about college parties. I thought I would go to huge frat houses, have the best night ever while taking endless photos with my many friends and then meet a cute boy who would become my loving and perfect boyfriend.
But here’s the thing nobody tells you before going to college: most of that never happens.
I had to learn that the hard way. I spent most of my sophomore year going out to frat parties and smaller apartment parties and drinking upwards to four times a week. It was probably the most miserable I had been in a while. Being around drunk frat guys who had one thing in mind all night and going home at 3 a.m. feeling like I just wasted my night surrounded by people who couldn’t care less about me. Drinking in college is fun, but a lot of the time, people will forget what happened the night they went out. I’d make fun memories with people only for them to forget them the next morning. So if people won’t even remember you or the night, what’s really the point?
One fear I had, and I know most college kids have, is FOMO, a.k.a. the fear of missing out. The big bad monster that is FOMO scared me into going out more than I needed to. We all have those Friday nights where you just want to stay home and watch a movie. That would happen to me a lot. Instead of listening to my gut, which was yelling at me not to go out, I fell under pressure from my friends who were going out to party.
I would tell myself, “What if it ends up being really fun and I miss it?” or “Maybe I’ll end up making friends there…”
I would drag myself out of the comfort of my bed, spend an hour getting ready and go out to the party with my friends. And guess what? It was never that fun. I never ended up meeting anyone new. I didn’t take photos with my friends or meet a cute boy who turned out to be the love of my life. But what did end up happening was I got tired after an hour or two but still stayed until 1 or 2 a.m. Then, the next day, I would wake up feeling disgusting and tired and half the day would go by of me just doing nothing.
So, at the end of the day, was succumbing to FOMO really worth it?
No, not at all. It took me two years to learn how to allow myself to be okay with just having a night in when everyone else was going out. It’s easy to compare yourself to other college kids and feel bad that you might not be partying as much as others. There were many times I wanted to have a night in with a face mask and a movie, but then, after seeing people’s Instagram stories at parties, I felt bad about myself. During my Junior year, I didn’t go out a lot. I spent a lot of my time to myself, doing things I genuinely enjoyed instead of just going along with what everyone else was doing. And I had a great time. I was significantly more happy than I was constantly partying.
Being able to be comfortable with not going out in college is something a lot of people don’t talk about, but it’s a very important skill to learn.
Because by just going with the wind and doing whatever other people are doing, you won’t feel fulfilled, and you will most definitely regret it the next morning. If you don’t want to go to a party, you shouldn’t feel bad about not going. Don’t waste time being hungover or spending hours somewhere you’d rather not be. Everyone says college is supposed to be the best, most fun four years of your life. But everyone’s version of fun is different, and you should never feel guilty for not wanting to go out all the time. Because at the end of the day, you only have four years. Instead of looking back and wishing you did things differently, make the decision to do what you want rather than what is expected of a college kid.