A sobering truth
A fourth-year trustee advises underclassmen to spend more time sober in order to better utilize and appreciate their years at the University
The University of Virginia oozes with tradition. Whether streaking the Lawn or living by the honor system, the University thrives on positive and negative practices of “tradition.” The culture of drinking is one of those unofficial and coveted ones. As Wahoos, we’re proud of our ability to handle our liquor — we aren’t the number one party school in the United States for nothing, right? But I’ve started to realize that this isn’t a University tradition to live by. The University did not accept us because we could shotgun a beer faster than all the other applicants; we were accepted because we’re intelligent, genuine and interesting people.
As a first year at the University, I joyously indulged in the fountains of free Natty Light. As a second year, I Four Loko’d like a champ. As a third year, I rarely made it to the eleven o’clock survivor hour at Backyard (RIP) because I’d pre-gamed too hard. And now; as a fourth year, I am looking back on all of these memories, realizing that they aren’t really memories at all. That is why I’m asking you to listen to a worn-out, old fourth year who probably scowls at you when you come into Coupe’s with your fake ID. Take the time to make sober memories. You can be drunk with your friends anytime anywhere, but you won’t be at the University forever, so try to remember it.
The list of 113 things to do before I graduate is tacked to the wall of my bedroom as a constant reminder of the things I haven’t done at the University. I’ve completed about half of the items, but some of the things that I’m missing are glaringly obvious. Why haven’t I played an IM sport? Why haven’t I gone to the farmer’s market? Why haven’t I seen the Purple Shadows on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday? These are all so easy to do, and unique to the University’s heritage. But if you asked me what my excuse was, I’d probably have to tell you that I was too often hungover to get out of bed. Not only is that just embarrassing, but it is also shameful. There are an infinite number of amazing things to do at the University, but I’ve slept right through them.
I’ve had some great times at the University: midnight adventures in the Gardens, attempting to hijack a fraternity’s fire extinguisher, late-nighting at Pita Pit (by myself). I’ve also had some pretty terrible times: getting an entire beer poured on me, eating an eggshell because I forgot to peel the egg (I wish I was kidding), waking up in the hospital. I sometimes ask myself, “How much of these past four years do I actually remember and how much have I been told?” The response is sobering, for lack of a better word. I want to remember my fourth and final year at the University, to be able to enjoy my time here as much as I can. We might go to the number one party school in the country — though I seriously doubt that statistic — but don’t forget that we’re number one in a lot of other things too.
I’m not saying stay in and miss out on having fun. The University is one hellUVa school. Have a good time. Make time for real friendships and meaningful memories. Appreciate the most beautiful and amazing four years of your life. They’ll be gone before you know it.
Maggie Moriarty is a fourth-year trustee.