Ah, Foxfields. A great Georgetown tradition. Kids wake up at 6 a.m. (probably for the first time since high school), start pounding beers and go stand in a big field all day to get wasted. Kind of like homecoming, another great day here at the Hilltop, where the slogan is “If you’re not wasted, the day is.” I’ll admit it, I also got up at 6 a.m. this Saturday because of Foxfields, but definitely not to drink. Instead, I had the pleasure of the early wake-up call to hear the shuffling of 50 kids as they pre-gamed in my house while waiting for their bus. By 9:30, one busload had left but another 30 kids showed up to wait for their ride, and I hadn’t slept a wink. What a great way to remember one of my last Saturday mornings at Georgetown: three and a half hours of trying to sleep over the obnoxious din of a party, starting at sunrise.
In those three and a half hours, I had the time to do a lot of thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot lately anyway. Graduation is only a few weeks away, I’m still trying to decide what I’ll do next year … so of course I’ve been thinking. But on this specific morning I was mostly thinking about something that has been nagging me for the three years I’ve been at college: alcohol.
I don’t drink. I never have, and the more I find myself surrounded by alcohol, the more convinced I am that I never will. A lot of people are very shocked when they first find that out. “You don’t drink? What do you do instead?” After three years at Georgetown, that’s a hard question to answer. Unfortunately, a lot of Georgetown’s life is centered on alcohol consumption. Just look around you, and you can’t deny that. Saturday and Sunday morning conversations at New South inevitably have the same old, “I was sooo drunk last night” thrown in there somewhere. Every year, GUSA candidates try to reinstate the Block Party, which would basically be another way for kids to get trashed, while endorsed by the university, under the guise of a fundraiser. The major selling point of a lot of clubs on campus is that they throw sweet parties with free booze. And this year, almost every “senior event” has been just another excuse to get drunk. The only senior events that really mean anything, like the Last Chance Lecture Series, are the ones that are poorly attended, while nights at LuLu’s are packed.
I try to take advantage of the many activities on campus that don’t necessarily entail drinking. I love going to performances here and catching interesting lectures, or seeing the Georgetown Program Board movies in ICC (Two Towers this last weekend … awesome), but most of those events are done by midnight. So then it’s either go hang out at a lame party or else try to get some sleep, but inevitably late-night drinkers are going to come in through the door and wake me up. Or if the party isn’t here, I can still hear kids stumbling home, singing and shouting obscenities as they pass my door. I live off-campus, and I tend to side with the town in the whole town-gown relations problem: drunk kids are unquestionably annoying.
Let me throw out a few quick disclaimers: this Viewpoint is not just a chance for me to publicly whine about drunk kids. I know that drinking is not the end of the world. And I also know that these sweeping generalizations I am making hardly apply to everyone. My main frustration is an unavoidable reality: college kids will drink. However, I think being woken up on a Saturday morning at dawn so that kids can pre-game shouldn’t be a part of that unavoidable reality.
Those of you who don’t know me probably think, after reading this, that I’m some grumpy old man who doesn’t know how to have fun. But as my friends can attest, I love to have fun, and I’ll even go so far as to say that I probably have more fun than you party animals. My brand of fun means I actually remember what I did last night and that I don’t feel sick this morning because of it.
I came to Georgetown for, among many reasons, the high academic standards, not for the high blood alcohol content levels. If you came here just to get wasted, you should have saved your money and paid in-state tuition at your state school to get drunk at a frat house. Students complain that Georgetown isn’t fun enough, which is a pathetic complaint. We are in an ideal situation: we’re surrounded by interesting kids our age, we’re in a great city and our only responsibility is to learn. What they’re really complaining about is having to walk three blocks to an off-campus bar like Rhino’s, which gets raided all the time by cops who are trying to cut down on underage drinking, God forbid, instead of being able to booze publicly right on their front doorstep or in their dorm.
So I’m out of here in three weeks, off to the real world where people have hopefully matured and know how to drink socially, like a few kids on campus here already know how to do. And as my parting words, I want to remind everyone to take every opportunity they can here. Georgetown is a great school, and it’s so cheesy to say, but it really will be over before you know it. I hope that after reading this, you’ll want to appreciate the school and its people more, without necessarily mixing alcohol into the equation. When you are going to drink, at least have the decency to respect our neighbors off campus and your peers on campus. And if you don’t care, maybe I’ll wake you up at 6 a.m. one Saturday anyway so you can think about it for a few hours.
Mark Lukach is a senior in the College.