Blowout, (n.): A 24-hour period during which students at the College of William and Mary celebrate the end of classes, traditionally by drinking themselves into oblivion.
This is an academically rigorous school, and understandably, celebratory drinking is enticing because it allows you to forget. While intoxicated, you forget about the stressors of the week (heck, of the semester), about the jam-packed exam schedule, about the uncertainty of future jobs and summer plans.
Yet, like Cinderella’s stint of enchantment at the ball, this amnesia is temporary. The morning after, reality returns, often bringing with it a headache, nausea and an outbox full of texts that you don’t remember sending. Your carriage is once more pumpkin.
The way I see it, we have limited time here to spend with fantastic friends in this one-of-a-kind place. Wouldn’t you rather remember it?
The adage “memories last a lifetime” often does not hold true after a night of heavy drinking. After a blackout, you will most likely not remember the majority of what happened while under the influence. You may say and do things that, upon hearing them recounted to you when sober, make you cringe. Ultimately, in that state, you are not experiencing those moments as yourself.
I propose a challenge: To celebrate the semester’s end, live in the moment as yourself. Make April 27th another day to add to your bank of memories from your incredible four years here. Take the advice of the stickers inspired by altruistic alumnus Robert Wone: “Be Here Now.” People who go to this school have such colorful, energetic, enthusiastic personalities; I promise that you do not need a drop of alcohol to be more fun. Gather friends together, and conduct a personalized midnight tour around campus, remembering fond times spent together at each spot, then picnic on the Sunken Garden. Revisit a restaurant at which you have shared many wonderful meals and toast your achievements. Sit on the dock of Lake Matoka with a dear friend, enjoy the reflection of the moon in the water, and recount old stories, recent happenings and hopes for the future. Do something personally meaningful.
Will any of these things allow you to escape the stress in your life? Maybe not entirely, but they will afford you temporary distraction from a hectic pace, allowing you to relish in a sense of achievement, consciously creating more precious memories. In future times of stress, you can look back on that night and relive another memory of comfort and bliss. Through the gift of memory, the pumpkin can forever be transformed into a carriage. For me, that beats a hangover any day.