Walking that thin, drunken line

The University of Vermont is a place of higher learning where youths come to better themselves and build the future — provided it’s not the weekend.  Every weekend, the UVM campus — like most nationwide — seems to come unglued.  Once the sun sets, students take to the streets and prowl downtown Burlington looking for some way to relieve stress.  Most students end up at house parties where there is dancing, inter-gender fraternization and alcohol consumption.  I’m not making a judgment about the underage consumption of alcohol — I’m just saying that it happens.  These events are fun — they distract from the past week of exams, the 12-page paper or the three-hour lab where everything seemed to go wrong.  The college environment is a stressful one, and everyone needs a way to unwind and decompress, but this leads to a problem commonly faced by many college students.  Where is the line?  How far can you unwind and de-stress before you’ve gone too far?The students at McAuley Hall on Trinity Campus seem to have found that line and are now pressing themselves, quite vigorously, up against it.  There have been a multitude of write-ups, police visits, de-toxes and even an episode with a young man hurling himself out of a second-story window.  One student expressed pride in his dorm’s party-hard reputation saying, in effect, that his floor is one of the hardest partying floors in the nation.  I wonder why some students seem to take pride in their write-ups and their drunken antics — which are lovingly described to any who will listen the following Monday.    Based on my experiences, it appears that some believe there is an unwritten, underground competition on campus to see who can get into the most trouble and still come out okay on the other side.      It’s as if some students believe a trophy reading “World’s Most Stupendous Badass!” is going to be awarded to the person with the most write-ups at the end of the year, complete with a handshake from UVM’s president himself.  A lot of these feelings may be explained by incoming freshmen, such as myself, trying to have the full college experience we have always heard of and seen portrayed in films such as Van Wilder and PCU. Yes, college is an experience and going out on the weekends is part of that — letting go for a while can be therapeutic.  But if your Saturday night traditionally ends with you stumbling home at 3 a.m., pulling a fire-alarm and waking up in the Fletcher Allen Hospital, then you have not only found the line – you’ve vaulted over it.