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Partying not for you? Don’t worry, there’s more

By Channing Kaiser / Columnist

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As a freshman, I had high expectations for Pitt’s party scene. I entered with colossal  expectations about the sleepless weekends I was sure to have. I was never one for high school parties, but this would be different. I was different, or at least I thought I should be. There would be no more Friday nights spent in bed rereading the “Harry Potter” series for the sixth time. I was going to conquer the college party scene one house at a time.

My first party was awkward. I hated the music and the standard that less clothes equaled more desirability. I’m pretty sure I was wearing jeans, ergo, very undesirable. I found myself in a corner of a cobwebbed basement — corners are excellent standing places at parties because no one can sneak up behind you and try to dance with you — watching the writhing mass in front of me, wondering why I wasn’t having fun. 

The night was a bust, but I kept trying.

I went to frat parties, house parties that I wasn’t invited to and definitely didn’t belong at and even dorm parties in my building. They all made for great stories, but they were never that much fun.

So I stopped going. I had several close friends on my floor, and instead of throwing on a bandage skirt and heels every Friday night, we attended other things, including Pitt Arts programs. 

Pitt Arts offers free and discounted tickets to cultural events in Pittsburgh, such as the ballet and symphony, and is a great way to score a free show and a free meal. As for the food, I don’t mean Chipotle — I mean highbrow cuisine.

If you’re into the art scene and Pitt Arts doesn’t satiate your thirst for all things paint-splattered, there is a gallery crawl on Penn Avenue every first Friday of the month where you can peruse local artists’ work, listen to music and, of course, pilfer their free food. Notice a theme?

Besides being faux-artsy, my friends and I also took the time to explore the city and do things like ride the Incline and discover the metro that takes you from Downtown to Stage AE for concerts. We discovered Ethiopian restaurants in East Liberty and went thrift store shopping in South Side. 

Oftentimes, we’d take the wrong bus or miss our stop but — as they say — the adventure doesn’t start until something goes wrong, and we found ourselves on a lot of adventures.

Partying  is not the only thing to do in college, and it’s not weird if you’d rather do something else. You’re not missing out on the “college experience” if you don’t want to frat it up every weekend. You have other options. 

There’s no “right way” to experience college. I suggest going to at least one party freshman year, because you may be surprised by how much you enjoy it, but don’t be afraid to turn down invitations if you discover that it’s not for you.

You may end up liking parties later. When you’re an upperclassman, many of your friends will live off campus and host smaller, more intimate parties, often with less dancing and more talking. These are the kind I love, but I lacked the access to them freshman year. Also, there are plenty of bars and clubs to go to when you’re 21, each with its own vibe. Pittsburgh offers a variety of party scenes, so don’t worry if generic freshman parties aren’t for you. 

There are many other options, but you may just have to wait a little until they’re available to you.

It’s OK to feel like you’re more of a Rory Gilmore than an Asher Roth in college. You have four years to socialize at parties, so if you’re not feeling it freshman year, don’t worry. There are other things to do and lots of people who feel the same way  you do. Besides, there are these things called “classes” and “grades” to be concerned about. And it’s not a bad idea to put more effort into those and less effort into the dance floor. 

Your liver recovers fairly quickly, but your GPA? Not so much. 

Write to Channing at

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Partying not for you? Don’t worry, there’s more