Friday, August 14, 2009


Those of you that yelled the proper response to that out loud in your cubicle, causing everyone to look at you funny, most likely spent 5 years in the drunken stupor known as Pennsylvania State University. What's that I hear? Hisses? Cries of unfairness? Did you just say "Don't be a hater"? (Really? "Hater"? Wow, we'll talk about that one later on...) But I am in no way being unfair, or a "hater". In fact, I went to PSU for a couple years, and had many fun times there. But that's exactly the point, and the point of The Princeton Review who named PSU the #1 drinking party school.

I'm sure some of you are saying that "party" doesn't necessarily imply drinking. And you're right. There's plenty of awesome college parties that don't involve drinking, right?

Ok, so can we be realistic about this? College is the time when American kids first start to take part in adult festivities, mainly focusing on drinking shitty beer and fucking anything that moves (or doesn't after drinking enough).

But what makes this even more prevalent at PSU? There's bigger schools, smaller schools, better schools, worse schools... in fact, there's no factor you could pick that isn't either above or below some other school. It's not at the absolute top or bottom of anything except partying. That, to me, seems to indicate not one cause, but several factors working together. Let's dig deeper.

The most distinguishing thing about PSU, other than partying, is football. Saturdays in the fall, football reigns supreme. With the enormous influx of fans and alumni, the population of the county doubles. Not the town, the county. No, seriously. It actually doubles.

The stadium alone holds just a few thousand less people as there are in the entire county. And these alumni who pour in on Saturday set a fine example for the impressionable youngsters...

...who follow in kind.

But to be honest, it all stays relatively wholesome and within the bounds of common decency on game day.

... more or less. But that's game day. Just one afternoon out of the 168 hours in a week. What do you do the rest of the week?

Nestled into the middle of picturesque nowhere, Penn State is a pretty fucking big university where there's not much to do on a Friday night. There's two theaters, two Wal Marts, and a mall with about 20 stores. Paris it ain't. But there are 54 fraternal organizations, and 21 bars. That's fine for everyone over 21, but the bars generally employ the afore-mentioned football team's defensive line as bouncers. You don't get into a bar unless you're genuinely over 21. And if you're from a state that issues shitty cardboard driver's licenses, you might not even get in if you're over 21. So what's a college freshman to do on a Friday night?

Delicious. And that does appear to be a dorm in that picture, with the heavy freshman-proof wooden door in the institutional burgundy aluminum door frame with heavy-duty hinges.

But it's not just juniors and seniors at the bars and freshmen and sophomores drinking in dorms, there is drinking everywhere. Bars in town, frat parties, house parties. Sometimes the sports teams get in on the act too.

But what's wrong with a little drinking? Nothing, really. Paddy and I aced Drinking 101 at PSU, and look what upstanding, productive citizens we grew up to be!

But that's part of college. It's not just learning what they teach you in class, it's learning how to be part of society. Learning what is acceptable and not acceptable. Learning how to be an adult amongst other adults. That process can have high points and low points, but that's all part of learning. You learn that drinking can have many effects and consequences. Sometimes you get a little loose...

... sometimes a lot loose.

Sometimes drinking can have unfortunate consequences for you...

... sometimes it can have unfortunate consequences for everyone.

If you're not careful it can lead to poor decisions...

... wardrobe malfunctions...

... more poor decisions...

... fucking terrible decisions...

...the floor....

... the ground...

...and finally a trash can.

But really, this is shit people need to sort out before they enter the real world. These are situations adults face, and it's a lot better to fuck it up when you're in college than when you're at your new job's Christmas party and you vomit on the CEO's wife and need to be carried to the bathroom to sleep it off on the tub. What you call drunken debauchery, I call life lessons.

And looking at it that way, PSU's #1 party school ranking takes on a whole new ring. Someone from Harvard or Yale may have never paraded drunkenly down the street with a sign that says "fuck the police." How much more embarrassing and career-ending would that be if you made that mistake in your 30's?

So where students see the #1 party school, I see the #1 life school.

That being said, The University of Pittsburgh is far more academically-oriented and I learned a lot more there than I ever would have at PSU.

And, on-the-whole, Pitt had way hotter chicks.

Just saying...

For more info on drinking at PSU, see:

College prowler: Penn State - Nightlife


Bar Tour: State College Area - Night Life, Bars & Entertainment


  1. Another post, another set of soul-shattering pictures. Where do you find these things?

  2. I do hate the lack of school spirit with Pitt Football. It's not that there isn't a huge fan base, there is. It's that an environment has been set up that does not nurture PItt Pride in future generations.

    The cause... You have to get onto a bus downtown to see the games. I remember ONE year of Pitt footbal at Pitt Stadium. It was great. It was in the heart of Campus and everything the day of was a-buzz in preparation leading up to the days game. Then they tore down the stadium and moved it to Heinz Field. Ever since Saturday mornings in the Fall Semester were never the same. Nobody wants to wait to get on a bus to shuttle you to the games. For the young, freshman, casual fan ( who you hope to turn into a lifelong fan), that little change makes all the difference between going to the game or staying in your dorm all day playing video games and masterbating.

    Now Pitt Basketball. Well, that is huge and Pitt's only hope left for establishing the kind of pride a quality University wants in it's Alumni.

  3. I was hoping we'd be inundated by nude photos from hot college chicks trying to prove my ending statement wrong, but realistically it's just us and our wives and girlfriends who read this blog. Though Paddy's wife had some stern words for me, she grew up there.