That Party Life: The culture of post-secondary partying.

Partying in college.

Image result for canada university party

I am not sure if I believe in parallel universes, but if they exist, I hope my parallel self went to college after high school and had a REALLY good time.

As someone who didn’t think about post-secondary education seriously until my late twenties, I didn’t experience the college/university life that so many of my friends did. I chose to go travelling and then promptly bought a house. All education I have completed since has been online.

I sometimes regret that I didn’t go to college and experience the ‘college life’. I accompanied friends in my early 20’s to some of the parties near or on their campuses and always had a blast. My experience was that these parties were outrageous. But fun. I imagine there is a level of competition when it comes to university parties. You either have to outdo yourself by upping the caliber from the last party, or outdo the other parties happening that evening so people will come to yours. One party I remember in particular was in a heritage house on the outskirts of the UBC campus. The house had no furniture in it, yet people apparently lived there. There was a band playing on the ground level and eventually we all scattered when the police came on foot and a helicopter was overhead.

I came across this article on the ranking of Canadian institutions on how hard they party, but also how hard they work. I have read similar articles in the past, but the difference here is that McLean’s added in the hard work factor. I think this is really important.  The articles I’ve read before focused only on the party aspect, and glorify the title of being the best party college.

I am all for balancing working hard and enjoying some lightweight shenanigans as a reward. I imagine if I had attended on-campus classes, I would have become an expert at it. Young adults these days seem more driven, competitive and focused on their own success than the generation before. Perhaps nothing has changed, except that social media has made it easier to see what other people are doing or have acquired, propelling the ‘bigger better faster more’ motivation. Phrases and words such as ‘hustle’ and #millionairemindset encourage the attitudes and culture of the work hard play hard lifestyle that can be really attractive to young adults.

Image result for workhard playhard

But social media has also created a situation where our lives are exposed and transparent. Boundaries are blurred, and there is a tendency to say, do or display behaviors and opinions without feeling vulnerable, or that we are putting ourselves at risk. Some things people ‘say’ on social media, I imagine they would never dare breathe aloud in a real-life social setting. This current generation of young adults in colleges and universities have grown up knowing a lot more about each other than previous generations because of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels.

Obviously partying in college is not new, and initiations, fraternities/sororities and epic parties have been part of the college culture for years.

I would be curious to know how the work/party balance has changed for the average student over the last 10 years. I wonder if there is more of a push now to be as successful at studies as you are at partying? With the competition in the job market driving more people to market and brand themselves, and companies using social media to do background checks on potential employees, there might be more of an awareness now for young adults to focus on the success half of the equation, and not just the good times.

Either way, I was impressed with MacLean’s for including the hard work aspect and promoting that in the ranking this year. After all, it is called post-secondary education for a reason.


Brown, M. (2017, May 18). Canada’s national weekly current affairs magazine. Retrieved May 29, 2017, from




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