By AUSTIN BARTENSTEIN
They had no idea did they? These poor freshmen, roaming around in herds throughout the Fredericksburg area, really didn’t know before coming in that Mary Washington is not full of raging parties like you see in Animal House?
As cliché as it is to make of fun of freshmen, it makes upper classmen feel better about their lives heading into the real world. We can rarely resist the temptation of denial that we were never as stupid as the freshmen are in the given year.
Still, it always surprises me when I see these clueless freshmen at the beginning of each year. I wonder if this is the only school they applied to, or if they just assume every college is a party school.
My freshman year, I never knew anyone to walk around the small city that surrounds our campus, where mostly families live, searching for a party.
Perhaps this was because my friends and I were involved in different clubs and sports teams. Maybe it was because we kept our doors open all the time in Jefferson and got to know practically everyone in the dorm. My theory for the formula to have a great time at UMW is a mixture of both.
Sports teams and clubs serve as the social groups that Greek life could provide. The only difference is you don’t have to pay for your friends here, and if you join one of these groups, you are likely spending time with the people who share your interests already.
Fun isn’t hard to find here. If you try hard enough, you can find it at any school you go to. Some freshmen that enter college expect that a great time will just fall in their lap. That might be true at some huge schools, but at other small ones like ours here in Fredericksburg, you have to try a little harder.
At almost the end of another fall semester at UMW, many freshmen have become somewhat familiar with the school. And unfortunately, we won’t get to laugh at the herds of freshmen still looking for parties. Hopefully this is because many have found a group of people they like, not because it’s too cold to go out.
Nightlife outside the UMW gates is relatively nonexistent because Fredericksburg has never heard of a nightclub and has few bars that welcome students. Believe it or not though, UMW has plenty of parties any given weekend night.
Sure, they aren’t the same size as those you’ll see at schools like JMU or UVA, but I like that you can almost always find someone you know at a party here.
It’s also nice to know you don’t really have to worry about your iPod getting stolen or any random townies coming into the house.
The best part about going to a school this size, is that whether you take the opportunity or not, you can get to know so many people here.
I have friends at larger schools who say that seeing their friends on campus is a special occasion. I can’t imagine the alienating feeling I would get if that were the case at our school.
It’s a well-known fact here that there isn’t nearly as much to do on our small campus in our small town as a bigger school might provide. However, the people who love it here are the ones who have taken advantage of that small-town feel. They joined a group they love or have taken the time to get to know many people around campus.
Use that same drive you use to walk around Fredericksburg looking for a party and channel it into making actual friends. In addition, if you’re in a dorm, keep your door open. Soon enough, you’ll have plenty to do on a Saturday night and definitely won’t be concerned with where the biggest party is.