Am I a dork for not being a party animal?

Originally Published: November 12, 1999 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 19, 2009
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Dear Alice,

I know I just arrived at college, but already I feel like such a dork! Unlike everyone else I've met, I like to go to bed before 3 A.M. I like eight hours of sleep. I don't drink or smoke and sometimes I like to stay in the dorm in the evenings so I can just relax. At home I worked hard, but was never one of the overachievers who studied every waking moment and went to bed at 8 P.M. every night. Why, suddenly, do I feel like one? And how do I meet other people who can accept me for not being a party animal?

Dear Reader,

It's true, many college students stay up deep into the night studying, gabbing with new friends, ordering take-out, and writing papers. Some know that they are naturally night owls — they are most productive in the wee hours of the night — so they choose late-day classes and sleep in when possible. Others find that especially around midterms and finals, the volume of work combined with their other activities make it virtually impossible to finish everything. Attempting desperately to do just that, they ignore their bodies' "I'm tired!" messages, getting little to no sleep. Still other students, however, are just like you. If they had their way, they'd call it a night before the difficulty concentrating and midnight munchies set in.

Many students find adjusting to the college sleeping and socializing schedule difficult. It's likely that if you talk with others, you'll find plenty of people who wish they could have more quiet time to themselves. Are you living with a roommate? If you are, one strategy is to talk with him or her to find out which of your habits are similar, and which will require compromise. For example, maybe s/he wants to go to sleep earlier, and would love to agree on a reasonable time. Or, maybe you'll have to ask that s/he find another place to study or socialize (a friend's room, the 24-hour reading room, the dorm lounge) on a few nights each week, so that you can rest. You could offer to visit with your friends on other nights, so that each of you has an equal amount of peace and quiet.

If you live in a residence hall, your RA (resident advisor) is also a good person to talk with about your concerns. As an upperclass student, s/he can probably suggest where to meet other people with your interests and validate your desire for a relaxing, substance-free social environment. Most residence halls develop "quiet hours" — designated times when loud music and vivacious conversation must be toned down in order for floormates to study or sleep. If your floor doesn't have these, talk with your RA and floormates to pick some reasonable times.

When it comes time to find your next residence, look for roommates and suitemates who share your habits and style. You can also find out if there are quiet halls or substance-free housing options available. In the meantime, search out people who you find interesting and with whom you share goals. If there are people you like, but whose schedules usually leave you exhausted, suggest some alternative activities once in a while. Invite them over for a rented movie and take-out, plan a picnic brunch at a scenic spot, go ice skating, or throw a dinner party. Often, people get stuck in a social life rut, simply because they are creatures of habit or don't want to take the flack if their new idea flops. You can also meet people through your college's community service group, film society, religious chapters, student government, and other student activity groups. There are sure to be people who, like you, are conscientious about their personal wellness and study habits, but like to have fun, too.

Alice

June 10, 2009

21553

Hey,

I just wanted to say this is exactly like me. I don't drink, don't smoke, don't take drugs and I'm really shy so I find it hard to meet people and even more difficult to meet people...

Hey,

I just wanted to say this is exactly like me. I don't drink, don't smoke, don't take drugs and I'm really shy so I find it hard to meet people and even more difficult to meet people like me. I don't really like going out partying, I do when I have to but I prefer a night in or actually doing something. This year has been better — I've joined lots of clubs and know that the friends I've made through this like the real me rather than the one I was pretending to be to please those around me who wanted me to be a party animal.

April 21, 2008

21385

To the reader:

I feel ya homie, if you're not into partying it can be tough. I'd just keep it real though and be you. I'm in my last year of college now and I definitely had trouble meeting...

To the reader:

I feel ya homie, if you're not into partying it can be tough. I'd just keep it real though and be you. I'm in my last year of college now and I definitely had trouble meeting people because first off, I didn't live in the dorms. I was also really busy, I had a job with a lot of hours and was taking 17 credits a term of tough classes so I had very little free time. And I did try to go to parties initially but I always got back from work late and was exhausted. They were places to meet people, but not my kind of thing. I'd been around drug fiends and lazy people like that all my life and got sick of it. I'm more into video games and chillin listening to music, but its definitely been difficult to find people with similar tastes. If you live in the dorms though, talk to some people in your hall. I'm sure you'll find someone similar. Good luck with that.

August 24, 2006

21122

Alice,

I'm 23 and I've never partied, smoked, had drugs, or drank any more than I can handle. I've never been called a dork, and I'm actually relatively popular. A lot of people...

Alice,

I'm 23 and I've never partied, smoked, had drugs, or drank any more than I can handle. I've never been called a dork, and I'm actually relatively popular. A lot of people actually look up to me and think I have some dignity. Being a non-conformist doesn't make one a dork; acting unwisely does. Plus, the smartest people I know all go to bed early and rise early.

July 11, 2006

21063

Alice,

I'm not a party animal either. I'm a social drinker, no pot or cigarettes, and that's fine. There is a time for work and a time for play, and you need to find people with a good...

Alice,

I'm not a party animal either. I'm a social drinker, no pot or cigarettes, and that's fine. There is a time for work and a time for play, and you need to find people with a good balance of both and THOSE people are the ones that you'll be friends with. I'm just like you! When I read your letter, I instantly thought of myself and the same way I felt. But there are always people who share your interests and lifestyle — just don't be afraid to talk to them and be shy like I was!

February 24, 2006

21037

Dear Alice,

This is in response to the "Am I a dork for not being a party animal?":

You're not a dork! Your description of yourself sounds like me exactly. If your college...

Dear Alice,

This is in response to the "Am I a dork for not being a party animal?":

You're not a dork! Your description of yourself sounds like me exactly. If your college has more than about 400 students, then you'll certainly find people like yourself. Just keep your eye out. :) -J

February 4, 2005

20859
Hey Alice,

I'm 19, don't drink, don't smoke, don't use drugs. My current friends are fine with it, I don't try to stop them drinking and they don't try to make me drink (well, they sometimes do,...

Hey Alice,

I'm 19, don't drink, don't smoke, don't use drugs. My current friends are fine with it, I don't try to stop them drinking and they don't try to make me drink (well, they sometimes do, but it's just joking around). Sometimes I get a bit of stick when I meet someone new, but after about 2 min., they realise they can't force me to drink and so carry on with their drink.

As for going to bed early I live at home and go to bed at 10pm every night. This is my choice, since I prefer to sleep all night rather than half the night and half the day. Again, my friends find it a bit odd since they stay up later, but they're fine with it. If I'm out at a club or someone's house, I'll stay up until everyone else goes to sleep, but at home it's 10pm.

After all the above, ask any of my friends who the craziest person they know is, and chances are they'll say it's me. Mostly because what they do drunk I do sober (like skinny dipping at 3am in a public park lake).

You should never feel bad or awkward about how you choose to live.

May 9, 2004

20639
alice, in response to this: i am 29-years-old and am straight edge. this basically means i don't drink, smoke, take any drugs, or have promiscuous sex. i have been straight edge for 11 years and...
alice, in response to this: i am 29-years-old and am straight edge. this basically means i don't drink, smoke, take any drugs, or have promiscuous sex. i have been straight edge for 11 years and will be forever, and believe me, there is nothing dorky about it! this person should be proud to be one of the few people to not conform to the self-destructiveness of these so-called social norms. i am originally from england. i now live in new zealand and have traveled the world. there are straight edge and poison free kids everywhere, so don't despair, or give in to peer pressure; always stay true to yourself. try boards. you will get the bad with the good, but i'm sure you can locate some good poison free kids in your area who can have fun without a chemical crutch. good times. stay true. xjeremyx

September 5, 2003

20502
Alice, I just wanted to add a little bit to this. I wasn't a party animal in college. And although I'm not sure I get to make this determination, I don't think I was a dork. I even went to a few...
Alice, I just wanted to add a little bit to this. I wasn't a party animal in college. And although I'm not sure I get to make this determination, I don't think I was a dork. I even went to a few parties and didn't drink, smoke, do pot, any of that stuff (yes, it IS possible), got home at a reasonable time if I wanted/ needed to, and still had a great time. And I discovered when I went to those parties and stayed sober that I wasn't the only one who did that. I made one of my first friends in college that way. We were both hanging out, watching the drunk people while we were without drinks, and we had a great time. And as time went on, I collected more and more of those friends. I also gained friends who did like to drink and party, but respected my choice not to. And once I got to be 21, I would be the designated driver, and got really good at knowing which bars gave decent-sized soft drinks that weren't watered down. Anyway, I just wanted to say that there's nothing wrong with not doing the party-hearty thing, and you're NOT alone. And I think it's far more important to do what you're comfortable with than to worry about fitting in. Actually, I think that's one of the biggest lessons a person should take away from college. Yeah, courses are important. But learning to be true to yourself and who you are is at least as important. And who you are — at least for now — is someone who doesn't need partying and staying up until all hours. There's nothing wrong with that.