College. What is it? Is it ridiculously hard exams and little to no sleep or is it loud parties and red solo cups? Without a doubt, all of the above fit the college stereotype. It is commonly assumed that they all just go together. So, what is it like to NOT participate in the party scene of college that is the site of new friendships, old friends, and memorable experiences (or maybe not, depending on what your choice of beverage is)? Here are five things that it is and is NOT.

1. No Guilt

It IS super great to not have the negative consequences of hangovers and getting kicked out of your academic program. If the morning teaches would not kill me, the guilt and fear of being caught definitely would. With all the stresses of college including, but not limited to grades, harsh professors, and student union food, there really is no room for guilt or dread.

2. It Can Be Funny

It IS kind of funny to see, and often hear, students come back after having a little too much fun at a party. The out of place laughing and the abandonment of introverted personalities is quite humorous.

3. It Can Be Upsetting

It IS upsetting to see friends and colleagues punished for their beverage choices. No matter how intelligent or talented someone is, their record can still be tarnished by a few glass bottles under their bed. It breaks my heart when this happens, but we all have to make our own choices in life.

4. It Is Frustrating

It IS extremely frustrating when older adults quickly assume that I will start carrying red cups once I start college. If I had a dollar for every time someone started a sentence, a lecture rather, with the words, "I know you will drink, so…" I would be wealthy enough to not need to attend college. Having only broken a talking rule in the third grade, I am not exactly a person that would eagerly break a law. Being shoved into a category with people you are nothing like is a bit annoying. It makes one wonder how bad drinking can really be if it is assumed that every college student will do it.

5. It Is NOT Boring

Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT boring. My college life has not been the drab, vapid space of loneliness that is shown in today's college films. In fact, I find that I am always busy with assignments, meetings, dinner plans, and of course, classes. I spend about 11 hours in my room a day. That includes sleeping time. I really do not know what schools those kids in those millennial movies attend because the primary goal for most of us seems to be gathering tools to be successful, not become the "big man" on campus.

The intention of these statements is not division. I am merely trying to shed light on a different perspective. This perspective does not come from a politically charged or judgmental place, only a realistic one. It makes me uncomfortable that I only have one friend that does not drink. It worries me that I believe my best friend once used beverages to fill a void and temporarily mask stress. It should be known that I am not opposed to the famous "Wine Wednesdays" when I am of age. I also have had my sip or two of adult beverages in my life. Sometimes, though, I wish that college represented a time of self-discovery and intellectual expansion more than blurry nights and throbbing mornings.