COLUMN: Student In College?

You roll over in bed, and look at the clock. In the warmth and darkness of your double, you read the numbers 1-0-3-0. It’s 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday, and you have to start drinking in an hour. After all, the game starts at 12:30 p.m., and you can already hear the excited shouts of tailgaters outside your window.

You sit up and stretch, preparing to mobilize for the day when reality hits you and sends you back against the pillow, cowering beneath the covers. Two papers, a presentation, and a test next week. And a class trip to the MFA tomorrow. In other words, academically, you’re screwed.

In this situation, for those of us who don’t identify as die-hard Eagles football fans, it’s easy to say, “I wish there wasn’t a game today.” We probably wouldn’t go. We may, instead, crawl into a corner of O’Neill and camp out there for the day. This alternative, however, is virtually impossible with the all-inclusive, point-driven Gold Pass.

As someone who falls into this camp of moderate football fans, I purchased the Gold Pass because I wanted to attend at least some of the games. With the Gold Pass, there is no longer the option to give tickets away or buy tickets from other students, giving yourself more flexibility to skip games on busy weekends. The $175 commitment looms over you, forcing you out of bed and guilt-tripping you into Alumni Stadium.

Football games, as most of us know, are generally a full-day ordeal. You go from bed to Shea Field to the actual game to Shea Field and then back to bed again for that my-legs-are-exhausted-from-standing-for-six-hours nap. You wake up disoriented and bleary-eyed at 7 p.m., wondering where on earth the day has gone.

This inevitably packed game-day schedule leads to my main point: it’s easy to be a college student, but sometimes (specifically on football weekends at Boston College), it can be hard to be a student in college.  When I stated this claim to one of my roommates, she looked back at me with a quizzical look. So I tried to explain:

During the week, we are pushed to our limits with work, work, work. Our professors ask too much of us. Our employers ask us to clock in an hour early. So many of us desperately want to immerse ourselves in our classes, but virtually can’t. (Don’t professors know we take four other classes, and not just theirs?) Looking forward to the weekend becomes looking forward to getting life back on track, actually doing the reading for that class you’ve been putting off for the past two weeks, and really doing research for that term paper you’ve been meaning to start.  We are interested, passionate, and feel a little nerdy for fostering this desire to learn or create or analyze. But isn’t that what got us here in the first place?

The work hard, play hard mentality can be challenging to reconcile. During the week, being a student in college is something we can do-surrounded by professors, mentors, inspiring peers, and tons and tons and tons of books. But this drive gets temporarily stinted once Saturday rolls around. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need this brief hiatus from the stresses of collegiate study. Sometimes you need someone to hand you that beer at 11 a.m. so you can decompress, and just be a college student.

After this explanation, my friend drew an interesting conclusion. At some schools it can be harder to be a college student in the social, carefree sense of the term than a student attending college. BC prides itself on its mission to educate the whole person-intellectually, spiritually, and socially-whereas some schools do not necessarily value this philosophy. Sometimes more personal growth can come not from imprisoning yourself in the library, but taking time to set aside the stress and just be a college student (though often easier said than done).

So maybe the Gold Pass isn’t the best choice for people like me. As much as it pains me, sometimes I have to miss a game to study for a test or finish a project. I may get points on my exams instead of points for attending games. I shouldn’t be reprimanded for this, however. It’s just my way of balancing a dual identity: fun-loving, free-spirited college student, and dedicated, curious student in college.

Editor’s Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.