Frosh Week: Social Life at Princeton Part I

Before I begin, I would like to mention that I have not consumed alcoholic beverages at any time during this week at Princeton. Knowing that I am under the legal drinking age, I have no desire to consume alcohol while I am in college until I reach the age of 21. I promised to provide readers with an unembellished perspective of Princeton and college life, so here is one aspect that is not talked about as often as others.

Social life at Princeton University is centered around the Eating Clubs. All of them are located on Prospect Avenue, known as “The Street.” While it is true that Princeton has fraternities and sororities, like any other university, their influence is much smaller compared to that of the Clubs. In short, an Eating Club is one dining option available to upperclassmen who elect to not receive their meals from a university dining hall or cook their own food. They also host a lot of events throughout the year. To get in to some of them, sophomores have to undergo a process called “bicker.” Each club also has its own reputation.

Freshmen moved in on Saturday, September 3. All other students came on Saturday, September 10. Classes begin on Wednesday, September 14. Freshmen have orientation during this gap between 9/10 and 9/14. These other students have already prepared for the year and are waiting for classes. So what do they do? Party and drink during a time known as “Frosh Week.” There is at least one Eating Club with a party every night. Yours Truly decided to venture to The Street one night for the sole purpose of scoffing at this debauchery.

I strolled down The Street at 10:30 PM and was disappointed to see very few people walking by. However, a switch flipped around 11:00 PM. All of a sudden, the masses started to pour down Prospect. I left The Street briefly and returned around midnight. This time, I walked down some of the side streets to get a better view of these parties. They had nothing unexpected. Loud music. People packed tighter than sardines. Copious numbers of red Solo cups. The scent of cheap beer wafting through the air. Three guys urinating in a fence corner. A gaggle of shirtless chanting men (Warning: video contains strong language). Drunk people pushing others in luggage carts. My friend who entered mentioned having a pizza thrown at his face. The usual college party stuff.

Frosh Week has the highest number of people “McCoshed” (the verb form of sending someone to McCosh Health Center) in a year due to alcohol-induced stupors. Just because everyone is smart here does not mean that they fail to succumb to the usual temptations of college life. It already appears that the motto of “study hard, party hard” is true here.

The next morning, I walked down Prospect again. There were cups and cans littering the ground everywhere. Tonight is only the second night; three more will follow.