Late Sunday night I received the following e-mail titled, "Incoming Freshman." I figured the best way to reply would be in my column for all to see (spelling unchanged, by the way).
I'm thinking about attending unh fall 11. I have some questions, im really into partying and drinking. Whats the party scene like? I'm not into the whole frat thing, would this affect the party scene? and is it easy to get alcohol from the stores? I got a pretty good fake. Also what is life at unh like in general?
Sent from my iPad
Dear Incoming Freshman,
You are about to take a weird journey with thousands of other teenagers and young adults all concentrated in a very small area. For the sake of all incoming freshmen (and hopefully the entertainment of the current student body), reading the blog will be helpful, but I'll try to answer in a few hundred words.
First off, you sent this message from an iPad. Really, dude? What high school student owns an iPad? Scratch that, who in general owns an iPad?
Anyways, all incoming freshmen should know that there are two types of students who are more likely to go off the deep end in college; there are the students who were straight-edge in high school and people who partied hard in high school. While these two generalized personas were complete opposites in high school, they stumble in college for the same reason: freedom. The straight-edge students who go off the deep end in college taste that little bit of freedom or rebellion in their first Keystone Light, and they want more and more, and before you know it, their GPA is lower than their BAC. The high school partier gets to college already knowing his or her levels, but then decide to push the envelope a little bit further because, hey, it's college. Obviously, this doesn't happen to everyone. That being said, if you know your limits and keep your priorities straight, there is no reason you can't party a few nights a week while maintaining a strong GPA.
Here at UNH, we take pride in our party scene. And although our administration has worked hard to quell the party atmosphere, we have done a pretty decent job maintaining our reputation. We may not be a ranked party school anymore, but we seem to manage. I'm going to be honest though, it can be tough for freshmen to get into parties, unless you know upperclassmen or make a lot of friends quickly, there could a be quite a few weekends of dorm room parties for you.
Since you are not into the fraternity thing, you're going to need to know people living in the Gables or the Woodsides to get into parties. One of the biggest freshmen mistakes is thinking that you and your buddies can walk up and down the street and enter any random apartment that is raging. There is no open-door policy at UNH (or any college for that matter). This is not the movies or television; walking into a giant party full of strangers is probably not going to end with you being the life of the party and leaving with the captain of the dance team. The most important thing for partying in college is knowing people and having different places to go. Even most fraternities have lists for their parties. If you're not on it, you're probably not getting in.
On the topic of fake IDs, they are probably not going to work, especially on campus. All of the campus stores card; some even require two forms of ID, and those that don't will probably end up scanning your license anyway. The storeowners are not stupid, and using a fake is almost a guaranteed arrest if you get caught. The best solution to the alcohol problem is making friends with a 21-year-old and always tipping them a few bucks. As for life at UNH in general, it probably isn't too different from any other college. It will be the best four years of your life, if you allow it to be. You will experience new freedom and opportunities you never thought possible. With that freedom comes responsibility, but remember, the social aspects of the college experience will probably impact you more than what you learn in the classroom.
Stay classy, not UMassy.
(PS: Once again- I love getting any emails, especially ones like this. Keep them coming!)