Opinion: The life and death of the college party



Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

If you’ve ever been to a house party off campus, you may have found yourself wondering what actually goes into the planning of one. Of course, alcohol, loud rap music, a beer pong table and strobe lights are factors that contribute to the ideal party setting. But what happens when you’re in someone’s bedroom listening to Pink Floyd when, all of a sudden, 50 people show up ready for a good time?

During the weekend, I had the opportunity to cross over from the perspective of the partygoer to the perspective of the party-thrower. Well, sort of. At a house that will remain anonymous, I was able to witness the life and death of the impromptu party in all its glory. What was initially a casual hangout session became a “rager” in a matter of minutes, and it all began with someone forgetting to lock the front door.

On weekends, many party houses become kind of like motels — you come and go as you please, as long as you’re a female or you know someone there.

It started innocently enough, with speakers blaring music that everyone seemed to know the lyrics to, followed by beer pong, which you can’t have a good party without. I made my way to the basement, where there was another entrance to the house that partygoers were using.

As people continued to flood inside with determined looks of self-entitlement on their faces, the party-throwers realized that the house was dangerously close to being too full, and they began making efforts to stop people from coming in. As I said before, if you’re not a female, your likelihood of getting into a party drops immensely.

By this time, however, many of the partygoers realized there was no beer in the house and slowly began to trickle out onto the lonely sidewalks. In doing so, they had to make their way down a steep flight of stairs, and it was only to be expected that a couple of drunk girls fell on their way down, although luckily the only thing hurt was their pride as they left embarrassed.

By the time I made it back upstairs, the music stopped, the lights turned back on and some 50 people were told to leave. To my amazement, they did so promptly; they knew the party had ended just as quickly as it started.

Then I realized the cause of the party’s untimely death. There had been a few girls dancing on the bar next to the speakers, and as one of them tried to step down, she slipped and fell into the window behind her, breaking it. She was unharmed, but had broken an unwritten rule of parties: don’t fall and break a window after dancing on the bar. If you do, the party ends. It’s just how the world works.

What I witnessed last weekend made me question a lot of things. At what point does a get-together become a party? What if you simply don’t want people in your house? They’re good questions to discuss over a game of beer pong.