I can still remember the day I found out that I got into Ohio University. There was nothing more that I wanted than to go to a top journalism school and someday be a writer. I had already gotten into my safety school, but this was the moment I had waited for – to be accepted into the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. After carefully weighing the size of the envelope in my hand, I ripped the letter open and stood there shocked for a second before I realized that I did it. I had gotten into my dream school. So you can imagine how I felt when I called my family to tell them only to hear, “Oh, you’re going to that party school?”
As an introvert, I had never been down to OU. I didn’t party on the weekends and fests or HallOUween might as well have been a foreign language. Actually, the only time I’d ever visited was a campus visit with my dad. It’s not like I didn’t know what the school was known for though. The year before I arrived at OU, the school had just been named America’s Number One Party School and almost everyone was talking about the infamous Palmer Street couch burning. In fact, we made the list again my freshman year – no thanks to me.
When news started spreading that I would be attending OU in the fall, it was like nothing mattered except that I was going to a party school. Despite not seeing my face at one high school party, people were still asking if they could come down and visit me for Halloween weekend and fests. Not a single one of those people ever came to visit me, with the exception of two of my closest friends. That’s because my growing social anxiety pretty much kept me in a tiny little bubble.
I am an introvert in every sense of the word. Now, I did go out and enjoy my fair share of fun nights in the college town, but that was only because my roommates would drag me out with them. Thank God for them, or I might not have any “party school” memories at all. I’m so introverted that I even had a single dorm my first year on campus because I knew I’d need a place to be alone.
Unlike what seemed like everyone else, I didn’t have a fake ID, nor did I care to have one. Bars stressed me out. So did being around a crowd of people who were drunk and falling all over the place. For an introvert, loud music, small talk, and alcohol don’t always make for the best combination.
“EVERY COLLEGE TOWN HAS A STORY. OURS JUST HAPPENED TO BE BROADCASTED A LITTLE MORE THAN OTHERS.”
As soon as I got to campus, it was easy to see why the school had its reputation. There was always something to do if you were looking to have a night out, even on a Monday evening. Court Street was filled with things to do, not to mention once the spring months came around and every weekend was devoted to a new fest with roads shut down and drunk kids filling the lawns of every single house. But then something weird happened – I actually started liking it.
Despite being an introvert, I will never regret my time spent four hours away from home in a town where beer might as well run through the pipes instead of water. Although I spent the first two years at OU hanging out in coffee shops instead of bars, I slowly started to adapt more to the party culture. I was finally in my apartment, with two roommates who were definitely extroverts in every sense. I’m talking exact opposite of myself. They dragged me out to friends houses and bars that I had never been to before, simply because I was always too scared to go.
Within a month, I could already feel my anxiety and introverted ways start to take a back seat. I realized that I had nothing to be afraid of. Small talk didn’t end up killing me and singing your lungs out in the middle of a crowded dance floor was actually pretty fun.
Sure, it can suck to be an introvert in and extroverted world, but without my time at OU, I would be afraid of everything. Embracing my party school completely changed me for the better. I got to really live life and get out of my comfort zone. I made lifelong friends, spent mornings laughing about all the ridiculous things we did the night before, and learned that even an introvert can be an extrovert at times. Oh, and I did it all without getting arrested once, thank you very much.
Don’t let the title of “party school” hold you back from anything. Instead, see it as a chance to experience things that you never will on any other campus. Every college town has a story. Ours just happened to be broadcasted a little more than others.
Featured Image Via College Weekly