The College of William and Mary has quite a reputation. As an athletic powerhouse? Hardly, although the football team did have a stellar season this past year, and the men’s basketball team surpassed all expectations. As a party school? Again, not quite. Students at the College are more addicted to studying than clubbing. William and Mary students have learned to mix work with play, academics with debauchery — a feat not easily accomplished at most universities. Here at the College, the line between work and play is blurred, which leads me to wonder: Is there a need for a line at all?
This past weekend, the College hosted its first-ever discotheque in the Earl Gregg Swem Library. Although most students already spend substantial portions of their weekends in the library, they experienced quite a different scene on Friday. Gone were the days of forbidden flip-flops and shushed sneezers. Forget about silencing cell phones or filling up on coffee and Red Bull. This was Earl Gregg Swem Library like you have never seen it before. I think it is safe to say that AMP’s Club Swem was one of the most popular events the organization has ever hosted. A recent check on Facebook confirms that a whopping 896 students planned on attending the event, and rumor has it that over 1,100 eager students tried to get into the party, many of whom were turned away due to the crowds. I can vouch for the fact that there was a substantial line of excited students dressed in club attire at Swem’s doors, the “club” having reached its maximum capacity when I arrived. Lines at the Green Leafe Cafe are rarely as long as the one at Swem last Friday. Shockingly, I waited for a full 20 minutes in the drizzling rain, in order to get inside my school’s library at midnight on a Friday. I believe that there are very few students at other universities who would do the same.
The scene inside Swem was memorable. One might say that students at the College had gone wild. Club Swemmers danced amongst bookshelves and frolicked between desks and computers, looking much more cheerful than your average library-goers. I think it may now be difficult to consider Swem the embodiment of hard work and scholarship that I used to — how can I study at a desk on Sunday when I saw several couples dance on it a mere two nights earlier?
The epitome of mixing work and play at the College, however, falls on the last day of classes every semester, formally known as Blowout. Blowout is the one day of the year that the College is considered a party school. The fact that the craziest day of the year on campus is one that combines attending classes with drinking is one more thing that makes the College unique. I can name more than a handful of students who actually attend more classes on Blowout than required just to experience the insanity that ensues. Something is amiss when college students willingly choose to spend extra time in a classroom on the last day of classes — what exactly is it about the College that leaves us unable to cast aside our need to be nerds?
Despite the fact that students at the College tend to spend substantial time complaining about school work, it seems we actually have a love for learning. I know this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. On the first warm and sunny day on campus, students flocked to the Sunken Garden to take advantage of the weather. While there were a few scattered groups of people passing a football or tossing a Frisbee, the vast majority of students were doing homework. I repeatedly heard echoes of “I’m going to the Sunken Garden to catch up on reading,” ringing down the halls of my dorm. When I got outside, I saw students flipping through flashcards in the grass.
These events have become institutions at the College and can by no means be discarded. What I suggest is that students embrace the College’s love of all things academic, and start making preparations for Blowout 2010. It will be epic.
__Emily Walker is the Confusion Corner columnist. Emily may be a self-proclaimed bookworm but she knows how to get down with her bad self.__