Student Life at H-S

<li><p>Would like to know whether Hampden-Sydney's national ranking of #7 under the "Lots of Beer" category at <a href="http://www.Princeton%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.Princeton&lt;/a> is accurate. If so, are students under that much peer pressure to routinely get drunk and party, or is this an exaggeration?</p></li>
<li><p>If you are a decent, well-adjusted guy who enjoys great times with friends, but not debauchery and promiscuity, would you fit into and have friends at H-S?</p></li>
<li><p>For those who have attended/are attending H-S, would you go there if you had the chance to start all over again? Please explain why.</p></li>

<p>Thanks so much for your input.</p>

<p>I’m sorry you did not get a reply earlier. But I’ll post this for the record for those who have pondered the same or similar questions. I was from the Midwest and attended HSC in the early '80s but hear from a more recently graduated nephew that things have not changed significantly. I fit your #2 profile (so did my nephew from North Carolina) and never had a problem. Like any school, certain frats, groups and individuals were known to party hard; others, not so much. You want an “Animal House”-type experience, you can find it or create it (or go off campus to get it) even at a “dry” school. Parties at HSC can be well attended by students from other schools, given the proximity of schools in Virginia and the number of Virginia students with friends elsewhere, giving the appearance of a bigger party (and greater imbibing) than represented soley by the HSC guys in attendance. </p>

<p>HSC Dean of Students Thomas Shomo wrote a pocket ettiquette book, “To Manner Born, To Manners Bred,” which says a lot about HSC’s bent. Women that I have met over the years have often professed a preference for HSC guys over guys at other schools. With no women in the classroom all week, HSC guys tend to treat women with more respect, not less, when the guys do meet women on the weekends. Maybe it is the women who come to HSC, maybe it is the culture, but talk to girls on campus if you have a chance and get their perspective.</p>

<p>Beer tends(ed) to be the drink of choice, over hard liquor, bars in-town, etc. While I was there, Prince Edward County had the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the state of Virginia, despite being in the middle of “nowhere” and Longwood only recently having gone co-ed (formerly, all female), but, again, that was not just HSC guys doing the drinking. </p>

<p>I would gladly do HSC all over again (I went on to Harvard Law, had a classmate go on to Harvard Business and know many classmates who went on to be successful in a wide variety of chosen professions). I loved the special comaraderie (one big fraternity in the best sense of the term) and appreciated the diversity that I found. (Of course, you usually find what you look for and see in the world what you see in yourself.) I laughed with the good ol’ boys, listened to music with the artsy guys, rubbed elbows with the nerds, numbered black and gay as good friends, attended parties at most of the frats and had friends in all of them, etc. </p>

<p>College is a significant growing experience. One very important lesson is self-control and reponsibility. Are you “man enough” to say “no” (and mean it) when you know that something (like excessive drinking, debauchery and promiscuity) is not in your long-term best interest or to find a reasonable balance (like having “just one” with your friends and meaning it, or planning your schedule around a party, before getting on to something you need to do). One of the best weekends I ever had was to drop everything for a ride to D.C. with a hall mate who needed a companion for the drive. Had a great time and made it back in time to write an A paper for a Monday class (with a manual typewriter and onion skin paper, no less). If you are wise in your selection of friends, it is no problem. Your true friends (and the guys most likely to survive HSC to graduation) will respect your decision and your desire to succeed. Visit when classes are in session. Sit in on a class if you can. Stay overnight. Talk to the girls and faculty wives (and ladies in the bookstore, etc.) for their serious perspective on the “average” HSC man.</p>

<p>HSC graduates “gentlemen and scholars.” That’s a pretty sober statement. Read other threads on attrition. Partiers did not tend to last, in my experience (sometimes a driver of their drinking, or their excuse). HSC gentlemen (students and faculty) WERE (still are?) the backbone of the Prince Edward County Volunteer Fire Department. You can’t serve in that kind of capacity and over-imbibe, so you have those guys to seek out to start! We worked hard and played hard at HSC, but felt the call to “man up” (in the best sense of the phrase) too. The setting, the classical education, the all-male atmosphere, the ties and jackets, and the long history, all contribute to moments of introspection and reflection. Patrick Henry was a firey man of action known for his temper, but I would submit he could be a pretty sober gentleman too.</p>

<p>Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thought filled and reflective answer. My son is thinking seriously of HSC and the beer-ranking was something I was wondering about. It seems they have turned out more than a few good men!</p>

<p>My son is also looking at HSC. He loved it!</p>

<p>Very welcome! To update, the HSC fire and rescue squad remains (and 90% HSC) but Farmville finally has a squad of it’s own, and every student is issued the etiquette book. Read through the Wiki listing for HSC for some good details. (The Rhetoric program really is a gem.) As a prospective student without a car, I was more concerned with the potential lack of access to women on campus. To my point that not all drinking is done by HSC students, women (in groups, of course) not infrequently outnumbered students in the Commons some weekends. Sweet Briar has been something of a sister school over the years (from time to time providing a cheerleading squad, singing with the HSC music groups, etc.), but folks came for weekends from as far as Mary Baldwin (Staunton) and UVA (Charlottesville). Hollins, Sweet Briar and Mary Baldwin, plus Randolph <a href=“?”>until recently named Randolph-Macon Women’s</a>, remain predominantly women’s colleges, within an easy drive. I presume they have maintained ties. To the point of options, religious fellowships (which hold dry parties) and the usual college options (movie nights, speakers, concerts and shows) abound. Having Longwood so close helped with critical mass to keep alternative student group options available. As for doing it all again, my wife and I can’t wait to send our S.</p>