People often say the "complete college experience." Sometimes they change the first word: complete, full, real, true. They all mean more or less the same thing. And somehow, they all involve partying on the weekends and drinking underage at said parties. These are the images that you get if you type "college party" into Google Images.
Sure, there are some students who see that as their "real college experience." There are always going to be those freshmen who party Thursday through Sunday, and get drunk every night, and very little can ever be done to change that. There are also students, however who don't want that to be their "real college experience." I'm one of the latter.
Friday and Saturday night, I went to two parties. Yeah, I did. The first was for a club I'm in. It was a mixer of sorts, so that the new members could meet the old. The second was a reunion with some friends from before school actually started, so that we could all hang out again and see how everyone's years were going in case we hadn't seen each other since start of classes. At both parties, there was alcohol available. At the former, there was punch--labelled "contains alcohol"--as well as a few kinds of soda and some beer. Because this was indeed a college party, age wasn't strictly enforced, and so if underclassmen wanted to drink then that was their prerogative. At the second party, it was a similar kind of situation, but no labels were needed because it was obvious what did and did not contain alcohol.
I mention this because it was somewhat different than what I had envisioned as a college party. Nobody was making anybody else drink if they didn't want to, and saying "no" to a drink was completely okay, and often, you were offered something else instead. This was a great atmosphere because there was no pressure to get drunk, but the option was there. Something else that happened at both parties was pong. However, it wasn't beer pong. It was water pong. So it was just a game to play for fun with no consequence or prize for anyone involved, something just for fun and just to get to know people better and have a good time.
Somehow, before coming to college and before going to any parties, I had this idea that the only way to be invited to a college party was to drink there, or to know someone going to the party who did drink. Now, I have no clue why that was my idea of a college party. I now know that there are certainly parties like that, but also that there are lots where the host, or hostess, doesn't expect you to drink if you're underage--or even if you're legally allowed--and that you can still socialize and have a great time without drinking. You don't need to party to have an active social life. I've gone out to the movies or dinner with friends, or even just stayed in and had a movie marathon with popcorn in someone's dorm. There isn't a need to always go out if you don't want to, but sometimes it can be really fun to.