As NYU students, we live in one of the greatest cities in the world. While other students live in sleepy college towns, we wake up every day in a city of eight million people, each of us doing something different, novel and exciting. The allure of the proximity to the city’s hottest clubs, bars and events should be impossible to ignore. But with these opportunities comes the gnawing compulsion to capitalize, the pressure to have the best time possible and to project that image to everyone. This compulsion is the reason why dorm parties still exist, even when the city has so much more to offer. They offer refuge from that pressure, but the looming feeling of missing out persists.
For some, New York City’s glitz and glamour can quickly take on a darker sheen thanks to the amplifying effects of social media. A seemingly endless barrage of Snapchat updates, Facebook events and perfectly curated Instagram feeds only exacerbates the feelings of missing out. When it seems like everyone is out on a Saturday night, it makes staying in and watching Netflix, or even having a low-key party with friends, seem a little sad in contrast. The constant exposure to this endless list of happenings can paradoxically foster a feeling of isolation.
In the end, there is no way to have a perfect night every night. Not every student has the money, time or cadres of friends with fake IDs in order to make those legendary outings happen regularly. The pressure to go out and party every weekend is self-imposed and magnified through the lenses of social media. Snapchat and Instagram exist to show off those picture-perfect moments, not to capture the mundane moments of everyday life that are much more common.
Yet people cling to these images, mistakenly believing that everyone is having a much more interesting time than they are. In reality, there’s no real need to go out and do everything. In fact, it’s an impossibility. If you feel like you’re missing out on everything, that’s ok. We all are.
The reason that the college party still thrives at NYU is simply because it’s easy. In a social context that places such an emphasis on indulging in city nightlife, college parties sans spectacle are often a much easier option. The convenience and relative quiet of small, contained parties can offer respite from the overstimulating world outside. No one should let the feeling of missing out keep them from having a good time just drinking in a dorm. No one should let the pressure to be interesting dictate how they live their lives.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 16 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]