Blowout basics

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May 1, 2007

2:07 AM

The anticipated arrival of the Queen has stirred many dubious emotions here at the College. With the last day of classes canceled, entire curricula are thrown off, last-gasp readings and assignments are thrown out the window or due early, review sessions marginalized, course evaluations are trivialized. But this is nothing when compared to the main concern on everyone’s mind: Blowout.

p. Because of the Queen’s presence on campus, the College wants to ensure that Friday’s ceremony will be a sober one. Blowout has unofficially been pushed back to Thursday, but for many students it will simply spill into Friday, Queen or no Queen.

p. Blowout didn’t always epitomize a day without consequences. Indeed, Blowout started out as a tradition among the seniors. The object was for graduating students to toast their favorite professors in class. It was a public event and it was fairly civilized. It wasn’t long before undergrads privatized the event, taking it into their dorm rooms and attending class drunk.

p. What administrators and professors realize is that, much to their dismay, Blowout has become as sound a tradition at the college as Convocation, the Yule Log Ceremony and the Triathlon. The events of this Thursday are inevitable, but before the Queen? There’s an element of excitement in going to class drunk, but can you imagine the consequences of shouting in the middle of the Queen’s speech?

p. Beginning Thursday at 9 a.m., Residence Life (including resident advisors and area directors) will make rounds in their respective quarters, walking their buildings’ halls, crossing each room on the half-hour, every half-hour, until 7 p.m.

p. In discussing the matter with a friend, there was mention of an administrative “crackdown” on this semester’s Blowout. Over the years, the drunken ceremony has translated into record-breaking write-ups and trips to the health center. It is highly unlikely a student will be charged with a verbal warning for drinking— in all likelihood he or she will be written up. Depending on the sort of mayhem one chooses to engage in (i.e. streaking), one runs the high risk of facing probation, suspension or even expulsion.

p. More dreadful is the enormity of shame one feels when letting down his or her professor by stumbling into class drunk. The last thing you want to do is show your worst possible face to your academic advisor at nine in the morning. I heard one sophomore had the audacity of throwing up in the middle of his philosophy class, the professor of which was the department chair.
I will go on record in supporting the tradition of Blowout. It’s fun, memorable and gives everyone an excuse to drink in the morning. So, as long as you don’t get shitfaced and utterly humiliate yourself in class, you can get away with a bust-up with some simple advice.

p. If you’re not too tipsy by the first few hours, make sure to get free doughnuts or pancakes, wherever they may be. A square meal will give you energy, decrease alcohol absorption, prevent you from passing out and potentially curb the next day’s hangover (generally, the greasier the better, I personally recommend a Philly cheese steak). Also, make sure to drink plenty of water. This goes without saying.

p. If your class is an important one, or if you have an ounce of respect for your instructor, go to class sober. Often, professors hold review sessions for the final exam on Blowout. Sober up and take notes; you might actually learn something. Show up drunk, and you run the risk of losing a professor’s respect. The best thing to do would be to hold out until after classes, at which point the real parties begin, and your chances of getting caught diminish.

p. Undergrads should keep a low profile. Hide your glazed eyes behind a pair of aviators and keep your mouth shut — the whole world doesn’t need to know how twisted you may be. Take your party inside, but be smart about it. As RAs make their rounds, they will be on the lookout for any noise from within your room, from loud laughter to the soft, subtle bouncing of a pong ball.
Make sure to seal the base of your doors with a wet towel. This prevents the smell of alcohol from seeping into the halls. Open up your windows, but remember to keep the blinds shut. Every so often, spray your room liberally with Febreze.

p. If you’re a senior, I doubt you’ll even need to take my advice. As you take your senior walk to ring that bell with a buzz, just remember that the Queen will be here, and that this is the moment you’ve been working toward, the day your alcohol tolerance shall be tested to the utmost, the day in which you will be asked to put on a sober face for just one afternoon, then take it off again. Don’t get caught. Don’t let us down.

p. __Sherif Abdelkarim, a sophomore at the College, is a staff columnist. His columns appear on Tuesdays.__

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