Campus Night Life: Go Out or Stay In?

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Aside from classes, there are many things to do on campus at any given time; for those living on campus, however, nighttime is when the fun really begins. If those who don't live on campus have to be there at night, it's usually for a class or to visit a campus-dwelling friend; other than that, the options are almost limitless. No matter where you go or what you do, though, there are many factors to take into consideration before making a choice.

Although the dorm-living culture may vary greatly from college to college depending on the surrounding area, some activities remain the same. Wednesday is called "hump day" because it's the middle of the week, but do not think of it in terms of a double entendre. Many students use Wednesday nights to go bar-hopping and Thursday nights to go clubbing. While most students avoid signing up for Friday classes whenever possible, most students return to their homes with a sackful of laundry on Friday afternoons. However, these are just trends that not everybody does every week or even on these given days. Depending on where your college is located, one or another of these may not even be available to you. In that case, ordering take-out or going to a restaurant may be more up your alley as well as doing your own laundry either at the dorm or a laundromat. Several spend weekends having a special time with their significant other either on or off campus, but that too does not have to be limited to a certain day of the week.

There are other activities that occur every night (except on weekends if more people go home than stay). When the weather is nice, people can still play sports in the quads or courtyards. They may do this during the day, but at night there are less people milling about between classes; it's also more fun after dark provided you're in a well-lit area. However, many students residing in the dorms are tired at night and are trying to study, watch television, or sleep. Thus a problem can arise between the two. Both are entitled to their respective fun and tranquility, and there is no perfect compromise for this. All I can say is that those outside shouldn't get too carried away with the noise level, and those inside should tolerate the noise as best as they can before shouting out the window. I would advise earplugs or earphones with the volume of your portable music player of choice cranked up. Police should only be called if the situation gets out of hand such as if people actually start breaking out into violent fights outside.

Speaking of police, there should usually be teams of two people in crossing-guard vests patrolling campus, as it too can become a dangerous place after dark. Call boxes may be located around campus, but they may be out of order. If you find one that is out of order, run to the next one (this according to a sign that someone thought it would be humorous to add to one at the college I attended). Always go with a group or stick to populated areas, or you can ask someone from campus police to escort you if you find yourself quite alone. Stay away from darkened areas and bushes - basically anywhere someone can hide and jump out and attack you. I don't say this to scare anybody, but you must prepare yourself for anything, especially if your school is located in a metropolitan area where crime is rampant. Whistles and mace are not necessarily required, but they are to be taken into consideration. Cars and rooms can still be broken into, but don't make it easy for thieves - keep your valuables locked up and out of plain sight as much as possible.

Lastly, whatever you decide to do for fun or for necessity at night, act responsibly. Only hang out with people you trust, and make careful decisions about who to trust. Be courteous to those around you and expect courtesy back (just don't hold your breath if they don't give it to you because chances are they won't). Whether you choose to go out or stay in, you can still make the most of your college experience without it ending tragically. You may never be without regrets, but that's life. Not much is going to be fair.

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