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Lessons learned on the social scene

Bianca Almada | Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One cannot provide an accurate, all-encompassing depiction of college life without discussing its unique and exciting social scene. In contrast to normal, real world neighborhoods comprised of people of drastically different ages and interests that more or less keep to themselves, college students are surrounded by thousands of people of similar age, living situations and life stages. They live in dorms in which their best friends and worst enemies are constantly down the hall or only a short walk away. They are regularly bombarded with news of so many different social events – dances, dinners, parties, mixers and activity nights – that it is often difficult to keep them all organized.
The college social experience is surreal, and it is one that cannot be found or experienced in any other place at any other time. It is the in-between – a floating, fun and exciting place between the restrictions of living under the rule of parents and the restrictions of responsibility in the real world. College is the only place where it is socially acceptable to dress up in wild, ridiculously themed outfits to hop between parties on Friday and Saturday nights. It is normal to be around the same set of people constantly, bonding and laughing over spontaneous adventures and interesting weekend escapades. College is also the only place where it is socially acceptable to stay in pajamas all day and night on a Saturday, studying and maybe curling up with a good book to relax after the pressures of a long week. It is normal to join friends at midnight to grab a bite to eat and discuss classes or to watch movies and exchange gossip.      
A great percentage of student knowledge is, and should be, acquired outside of the college classroom. Though the importance of socializing is definitely less than the importance of academic and professional endeavors, the college social scene can arguably provide equally important lessons and preparedness for the real world. It is a great stage for networking among people of similar interests and goals as well as an ideal location for developing friendships and relationships. It is important for becoming familiarized with different types of people and for learning from them and their opinions. It is also a place for letting loose, relaxing and participating in fun, “that’s so college” experiences that will forever remain fond memories. It is the place to make a few mistakes, partake in some shenanigans and then to learn from those mistakes and become more sure of self and personal values.
College is the place to create lifelong friendships based on cherished bonds and shared experiences. To miss out on the social scene is to miss out on one of the greatest and most rewarding parts of the college experience. It could mean missing out on making the friends that will someday be in your wedding or missing out on pursuing a truly satisfying relationship.  
Though it may not be the most important part of college, social interaction is arguably the most memorable aspect of one’s college years. It is the time to create lively experiences that can one day be shared with children and grandchildren. It is the epic storming of a football field in the rain, the funny story of a dorm party occurrence and the all-nighter with the group of equally stressed friends that will serve as the fondest memories and the best stories of the in-between time.
It will never again be possible to live within a five-mile radius of everyone and everything. There will never again be an as accepting, forgiving place to make mistakes and learn from them. There will never again be a fun-filled, dynamic environment of people in the prime of life. This is the in-between, and it is fantastic. Do not let it pass you by.
Bianca Almada is a freshman residing in Cavanaugh Hall. She is studying English, Spanish and journalism. She can be contacted at balmada@nd.edu
    The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.