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Learning to appreciate Bowdoin nightlife: a retrospective account

April 7, 2017

This piece represents the opinion of the author .
Phoebe Zipper

Spring is a season of rebirth, reflection and, apparently, snow. This spring, I have decided to swap homework for Recommended Videos on YouTube (“Why These Brothers Killed Their Parents,” “20,000 Calorie Challenge”). This is called Choosing Happiness. I have also decided to reflect on and evaluate my experiences in honor of my final Bowdoin homecoming.

As a senior, I have a rare mass of uselessly specific knowledge. Bowdoin knowledge. After graduation, I’ll know nothing. I’ll be paying for a dirty apartment above some failing café. What better way to share my temporary expertise and maturity than through a retrospective on campus nightlife? Don’t answer that question. Whether you like it or not, the following is a remarkably accurate, definitely universal guide to going out at Bowdoin. As a columnist, I should be trusted entirely.

Freshman: First years at Bowdoin are particularly eager to go out, and I was no exception. Though it took two months for me to find a factually defined “party” (a social gathering of invited guests typically with drinks and entertainment), I enjoyed the limbo of standing in rooms and waiting to taste beer. Unfortunately, my first forbidden libation proved surprisingly underwhelming. Quick tip: if you’re looking to have a good time, don’t judge your peers too quickly! For example, my roommate marked taxidermy as an interest on her housing application and we got along just fine. We even have a few pictures together (with her fox skin).

Notable skills: pretending to remember names, crying in basements, eating pizza.

Late Night Google Searches: How to make crop top; is “breaking the seal” dangerous?; watch “Goofy Movie” online free.

Sophomore: Social excursions galore! College Houses are truly the living rooms of campus. One time in MacMillan House, a plate of ravioli remained on our dining room table for two months. Party highlights included drawing Xs on hands and pointing out other people’s vomit. My big sophomore tip for nightlife is to join a club or organization (apparently these are distinct categories). This way, you will have a group of people who are forced to hang out with you. Together, you will enjoy meals, pregames and casual Bowdoin hellos.

Notable skills: rallying, breaking phones, eating pizza.

Late Night Google Searches: how to open wine without wine opener?; how to open beer without beer opener?

Junior: As you all know, studying abroad is a life changing adventure. Personally, I discovered the thrills of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is unexpected and sad—like when you tell someone you’re going on a diet and they say, “Good for you” instead of, “Why?” I suggest you skip club cover charges and throw a domestic celebration with cheese and Tesco wine. Just post a bunch of pictures from one bar with different filters and followers will assume you’ve globetrotted.

Notable skills: complaining about parties at parties, eating pizza.

Late Night Google Searches: easy ways to make money online, legal; sangria recipe; Lorrie Moore stories.

Senior: The moment I’ve been waiting for: an elevator away from Super Snack. This year, I spend nights out pondering the Big Questions: how do I open a Roth IRA? What do noses smell like? I drink craft beer without irony—because it just tastes better! Senior year presents ample opportunities for classy socializing. I suggest you talk to as many people as possible. One day, you might be unemployed and someone you met at a party will own Connecticut’s largest law firm and maybe will remember how you helped her scrub vomit out of her shower curtain and thus will give you a job. Maybe you will meet someone like that. Or maybe you will just meet someone who makes you feel less alone.

Notable skills: reminiscing, wine-induced story writing, eating pizza.

Late Night Google Searches: What is starting salary, entry-level?; how to make snack, no stove?; full-time YouTubers salary?

I have seven more weeks of Bowdoin. Some cases of mono last longer than that. I’ve learned to appreciate our social scene and I hope you will too. Because soon it will be gone. Soon it will be graduation and the grass will be furiously green from secret chemicals and our OneCards won’t work anymore. And Domino’s won’t offer you the student two-for-one deal. And that will be a very sad day.


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