Dream School Disappointment

Hey everyone, so I started my freshman year at my dream school, and classes and all of that is going great, but the party scene is not what I expected. I was told this was not a party school/that the partying scene was limited, but it feels like its every weekend people are going around and partying. I want to give it more time, but in all honesty its making me freak out that I made the wrong choice. any advice?

I really think it’s similar at all schools. You need to find friends who aren’t partners. They are out there!


When you say “see people out partying”, do you see them actively drinking? Are you out at these parties as well or watching from a window? Are they just going out to have fun and meet new people?

There may be a significant amount of students staying in their dorms thus you don’t see them.

I don’t think there are many dry campuses out there, and partying is going to happen anywhere.

I think of a party school as one where people are out every night. A non-party school is one when most people limit it to the weekends (and for some that starts Thursday night).

I promise you, though, there are like-minded students at your school, no matter how often parties are happening. It is early in the year, and people are probably a little more out there testing the waters socially. Especially now that they are on campus post pandemic. People will settle down once grades start coming in.


How does it effect you what other students might be doing on weekends?

If “classes and everything is going great” for you, then it sounds you’ve made a good choice for yourself?

When my daughter was a freshman, she would often be invited to the co-ed Columbia dorms on Weekends. I don’t know if this qualified as “partying” in the eyes of some - to her, it was just “hanging out” for a few hours.

How do you define “partying”?

If your definition involves drinking and you aren’t comfortable hanging out with kids who are drinking, I guarantee there are like-minded people. Does your school have a substance free dorm or clubs that would help you connect with others who feel the same?

I do encourage you to be open-minded and give people a chance.

Partying happens at almost all colleges. You need to find your fellow nonpartiers. They are out there.

My kids are quite different, like most sibs. D wasn’t interested in partying and wanted an academically rigorous school. She found likeminded friends, though at various times, even those students partook occasionally. My S attends a well regarded state school, which is generally not regarded as having a big party scene. He WANTED to find the parties, and he did. Lol.

Plenty of colleges that are regarded as being good for serious students have more partying than any adult knows. If you truly can’t stand the partying, consider transferring to one of religiously affiliated college. In general, they may have less partying but are still strong academically. St. Olaf comes to mind.

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Hang out in the lounge of the substance free/healthy living dorm.
Check out the foreign language film club and/or the international dorm (many internationals aren’t quite so into drinking, since in many countries it’s legal earlier than in the US.)

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Another thought… my D attends a rural SLAC where a good portion of social activities are associated with Greek life. For kids not interested in that, other organizations host substance free activities on the weekends… there’s a regular weekend “coffee house” with student performances, choral and orchestra performances, Hillel hosts activities, plus many other clubs. My D sent videos last night of a dorm dance party she and some of her hallmates spontaneously organized in the dorm game room to celebrate a birthday… others walked by and ended up joining them so they made new friends.

Great suggestion by @MYOS1634 about connecting with international students.

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All the kids I knew freshman year spent every Friday and Saturday night drinking cheap pitchers of beer at the local watering hole (cops looked the other way - even back then, drinking age in PA was 21). I didn’t join them. I was at Hillel, with my other friends who were not into drinking (except maybe shots after dinner). I was still friends with the drinkers. I just didn’t go out drinking with them.

You just need to find the other kids who are not interested in drinking and drugging. If you are even nominally affiliated with any religion, try that religious group. I have no idea where the other non-drinkers were. Seriously, everyone I knew who wasn’t at Hillel was out drinking together on Friday nights.


also it’s worth noting that Hillel welcomes students from all religious groups and denominations, including agnostics, atheists, etc (as long as they’re respectful). It’s common for Jewish students to invite their friends, they’re not “carded” at the door :wink:
Obviously Muslim groups will also have non-alcoholic get-togethers.

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Another good point. We are not Jewish and my D has been attending events at Hillel.

My son says that he’s finding that non-Jews do go to Hillel with their Jewish friends at his school. There’s always good food there!


Yes, the food! And good discussion groups covering so many topics… current events, social activism, etc. My D made it a point to visit the campus Hillel, if possible, when we were on college tours because she’d heard how welcoming it is from older students. Haha… how did this turn into a rah-rah for Hillel conversation? :grinning: