Your first college party is an exciting and slightly terrifying experience. Your imagination has probably run wild with what to expect based on what you’ve seen in movies, TV shows, and stories from graduates from your high school who are somehow always still hanging around your basement kickbacks (can you say peaked?). You may be expecting to be in a mansion of a frat house that’s decked out with Euphoria style lighting and decor, but allow me to set the record straight. This will tell you what’s true, what’s overhyped, and what’s just flat-out not gonna happen so you don’t get your precious party dreams crushed.
Expectation: The pregame will be a fun and exciting way to meet new people. You’ll play drinking games, listen to some good music, and take a few too many shots with the girl you just met who is now your new bestie. You’ll have incredible conversations about what you’re excited about in college and exchange numbers with all the new people you just like, click with.
Reality: It’s a complete and total f*cking nightmare unless you’re appropriately buzzed. “Old Town Road” has been played 10 times just in the one hour you’ve been there, someone’s standing on the coffee table trying to teach everyone their favorite TikTok dances, and the punch you paid $10 for tastes like it has maybe one shot in the entire bowl. Your night will go one of two ways: you’ll black out and never make it to the party or you’ll roll up completely sober. Choose wisely.
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Expectation: You look perfect the whole night. The time you spent tearing apart your closet to decide which black top among a sea of black tops you were going to wear, redoing your eyeliner a hundred times, and starting to get ready two hours early to give your hair the perfect beach waves has all paid off. No amount of humidity or dancing could possibly destroy your Insta-worthy look.
Reality: Five minutes after you get to the party, you catch your reflection and your look’s already gone to sh*t. Your makeup has melted and your hair, which was once as sleek and smooth as an influencer’s Facetuned skin, is now a mile high with frizz and chucked up into a messy bun. Oh, and someone spilled their drink on you the moment you stepped in the door. Thankfully you were too drunk to notice. To top it all off, by the end of the night your shoes got destroyed and you lost your jacket, but hey, at least you took pics before you left!
The Actual Party
Expectation: You’ll spend the night dropping it low with your friends while scream-singing your favorite songs, impress everyone with how unexpectedly good at beer pong you are, and miraculously wake up without a hangover despite out-drinking everyone else. You’ll be the undeniable life of the party and your plan to totally kill it at this ~college thing~ will go off without a hitch.
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Reality: You’re going to spend more time trying to find a bathroom that isn’t totally disgusting to pee in and looking for your friends who somehow disappear every five minutes than you will socializing and dancing. After a while you’ll settle on peeing outside and accept that you’re friends are probably dead now, but honestly, the three minutes you’ll lose your sh*t while “Stacy’s Mom” is on are totally worth it.
Expectation: You’re going to meet the love of your life. You spot each other across the room the moment you walk in and he somehow only has eyes for you. The crowd parts as you move in slow motion to meet each other. The music playing in the background somehow matches the moment perfectly. Everything is so perfect, it’s almost as if it was cut together by the editors of The Bachelor.
Reality: You spend almost an hour on the porch talking to some dude wearing a half-buttoned Hawaiian shirt (disgusting, but he’s the best-looking one there). You’ll probably get his number and save it under something like “frat guy Hawaiian shirt,” make out a little, but he’ll ultimately end the conversation by being pulled away by one of his frat bros to go play Edward Fortyhands.
The End of the Night
Expectation: Your night will end with a legendary story. Maybe you’ll climb to the roof of your lecture hall, break into the basketball court at 2am, meet someone famous (you know, if you don’t go to school in a cow town), or literally do anything that will make your friends who decided to stay in jealous as f*ck.
Reality: By the time the party gets shut down, you’ll be too exhausted to even take off your makeup, much less go anywhere other than straight to bed. The only logical way to end your night is by debating whether or not a $4.99 delivery charge is truly worth getting greasy food sent to your room, to which the answer is always yes. You’ll spend about six minutes scarfing down an entire pizza and TBH, in that moment you won’t be able to think of anything more satisfying.
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Granted, there may be a few schools out there where the parties are genuinely incredible and meet your expectations, but I’ve yet to experience that. Whether you’re a freshman going strictly to frat houses, or a senior who frequents the bar and experiences the occasional frat relapse (no shade, we’ve all been there), odds are, the only stories you have from your nights out are about your friend throwing up in your Uber, how you made a total ass of yourself in front of the guy you’ve been talking to, or, my personal favorite, you won’t have any stories at all because you went too hard and can’t remember a thing. Better luck next year!
Images: Aditya Chinchure / Unsplash; dietstartstomorrow, off campus (2), betches / Instagram