Why skipping that party is the best way to experience your time in college

The first scene of every horrible movie: A door is opened. Top 40 pop music is blasting between the red solo cups held in the hands of tipsy teenagers who are trying to shout over the music to maintain a conversation with the person next to them. Following in no particular order are scenes of hookups, beer pong and a freshman puking in the toilet.

If you have ever made a bucket list, chances are “get drunk at random parties and make compromised decisions once a week” is not on it. So, why does it seem like that is the only thing going on every weekend. That hangover is going to catch up to you the next morning, along with any poor decisions you made between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. If you are like me, parties are not the kind of event you look forward to attending.

There is something unappealing about getting to know someone who won’t remember you the next day. A drink or two is no issue, but at parties I seem to always find myself cornered by some speech-slurred person trying to convince me that they are someone worth hanging out with, urm, one on one.

Not. For. Me.

There has to be hope for those seemingly few of us who just are not attracted to (that creep hitting on you) this seemingly only social gathering of college students. It may not seem like it, but there is life outside of the party scene.

It is hard to believe that there is an acceptable way to socialize in Fort Collins in a way that doesn’t involve huge parties. I mean, we go to a school that has been Playboy ranked in the top 10 party schools in the nation. We even have a reputation for rioting. Going through college, I needed a different option. What I found was that once I started looking, I could not stop finding ways to spend my evening that I actually enjoyed .My most authentic evening experiences in my four years at Colorado State University were usually spent around burritos, music, midnight coffee and smaller get-togethers.

There are many escapes from that party social norm. For me, it was weekend adventures and music.

Music. No matter how obscure the band I have gone to see may seem, there has never been a venue that is empty. Events at even small venues, such as The Aggie and Hodi’s Half Note, always have a crowd of music appreciators. In fact, many of my closest friends are people I have met at concerts. With the average college student spending $42 a month on alcohol, I would rather use that to spend on a big-name Red Rocks show. Music is an important connection between people with similar tastes. I also learned to play an instrument. I mean, my ukulele skills may not impress the toughest critics around, but they are enough to spend an evening relaxing and making up horrible Weird Al Yankovic-style songs about the classes we hate.

I find it hard to justify sleeping off a hangover until 2 p.m. when there are at least 300 days of sunshine in Colorado a year. Not only that, but we have some of the most beautiful landscape in the country. Rocky Mountain National Park, anyone? Like, that place is an hour away and it is endlessly gorgeous. My advice: find something cool, split the cost with a friend, and spend a weekend doing it. There are activities like hot springs, camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, horseback riding, biking, rafting and that is just the beginning of what Colorado has to offer. How can anybody give up something that exciting?

All this to say, our time in college is not about the parties we attended. It is not about the nights we cannot remember. It is not about the hundreds of people we met just once. If the typical opening college movie scene is not the place where you belong, then take ownership of the amazing weekend possibilities ahead of you. Let us make memories we are proud of, get to know a few people until they are like family, learn to play ridiculous instruments and eat many, many burritos.