Same Parties, Same People, Better Community
Among the raunchy stories and questionable memories relayed over a plate of Collins tater tots every Sunday morning comes the student body’s near constant whine about the redundancy of the parties – the same themes, and the same people every time. At a school where excessive partying comes at no monetary cost, I guess it’s only natural that we find something to complain about. It’s not that the student body is inherently overly critical, but rather that almost any party scene can become stale. While consistency is not always the virtue we look for in our parties, it becomes too easy to nitpick our surroundings and overlook the benefits that attracted us to Claremont McKenna College in the first place. It is the welcoming nature, safety, and comfort of our parties that drew us here and draws us back to TNC each week. It is an oft-heard gripe that perhaps it is the sameness of the parties that makes them feel lackluster. While it is true that most parties are similar, they are similar in that they cater to the students. ASCMC has a budget, and between 6:01, the Pirate Party, Monte Carlo, and the Wedding Party, (not to mention those hosted by the other colleges) they make good use of it. It is not as if they don’t attempt to inject variation into our nightlife – rather it is the fact that the same student body will move towards creating the same atmosphere.
The problem lies not within the parties themselves, but rather in our failing to remember that there are certain tradeoffs you make when you decide to go to a school with 1200 students. Undoubtedly, one of the most noticeable of these tradeoffs is giving up any sense of anonymity. It is near impossible to even walk through a TNC without seeing at least ten people you know. While some see this as monotonous, I think that it is precisely this quality that allows CMC's parties to seem so sociable.
While a large school naturally offers a more varied array of nightlife options, CMC's party atmosphere allows you the comfort of going to any given party and running into someone - especially that someone you've had an eye on - without having to search high and low. With this reliability comes a level of security hard to find anywhere else – at a CMC party you can rest assured that you are taken care of. The level of community that comes with a student body so small creates an environment in which students truly care about each other’s safety. It is only because of this that we can feel comfortable even when we have had a little too much ‘dancing juice’ and lose our friends in a sea of togas.
Despite the pervasive sense of familiarity at parties, it is not as though there is no new-ness. While it may be easy to find those you know, there are always new people to meet. For those willing to put in the effort, there are always people to get to know and people to get to know better--whether they are students from the other four colleges, transfer students, freshmen, or CMCers you've never spoken to before. It is this quality that helps us forge a deeper sense of unity. We create connections with fellow students that we would be unlikely to create at any other type of school. In this way, it is the smallness of CMC that allows us to befriend more people rather than fewer.
So rather than wonder why you see the same people all the time, remember what it was you signed up for, and relish in the fact that every weekend you can go out, see all of your friends in a safe environment, and create those memories that you'll never forget (or never remember).