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Work Hard, Play Hard

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This is my response to the TAL “#1 Party School” Episode…I realized I never posted one!

 

Ira Glass shares a new perspective on the concept of “party school” in this episode of This American Life, raising awareness about college culture and the hazards that accompany both the “party” atmosphere and the title.

Glass discussed a variety of things—from the perspective of the localite porch sitter  observing her neighbors, to the trials and tribulations of excessive drinking.  For me the segments merged to create a narrative about how the U.S. has socially constructed this idea of a “college experience.”   It seems that with the rise of college enrollment in the United States, there has also been a popularization of college stereotypes that engage everything from nerdiness, drop-out and the most influential: the partier.   Exposure to these stereotypes among high school students has definitely influenced the expectations of both students and parents alike. “Fun” and “Good parties” seems to be the first thing students search for, and if they can check an invigorating social life off the list then universities gain points in the eager high school students mind. This is definitely not the case for everyone, but I do think it is a predominant trend.  The ideal situation is strong academics and an even more vigorous party scene, thus the slogan “Work hard, play hard” plastered among the nation’s leading campuses.

Students drink, but alumni drink even more.

So I suppose the big question is: What’s so wrong about this?  Shot gunning a beer and enjoying a tailgate is harmless in the scheme of things.  Right?  For anyone who has ever attended college, namely a school like Penn State, I think they would support such behavior.  However, as Glass points out when he presents the other side of the situation—there are a variety of implications that suggest raging isn’t all its cracked up to be.

As for me…I fall somewhere in the middle—probably because my parents opposite ends of the spectrum.  My mom is the first to offer you a beer when you walk in the door and my Dad, despite all of his wine-chugging relatives—is one to lay off the booze.  (Maybe thats the adverse effect of being in a Fraternity?) My mom is a care-free socialite, and my dad the anxious doctor who has seen one too many cases of alcohol poisoning.  As cliché as this sounds—the best approach in my book is the “drink responsibly” adage.   However, as evidenced in older generations and experiences from my own—the phrase is more true to oxymoronic structure than it is to life.

 

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