Those who think life, university or otherwise, ought to be one big party usually learn otherwise.
The battle for prestige is endless among peers, particularly for those of college age who yearn to be perceived as among the most hip.
So reports this week that the University of Illinois landed on the No. 3 spot in a list of top party schools surely thrilled UI students seeking bragging rights over friends and acquaintances attending schools that aren't non-stop fun. And just think of the pride swelling in the chests of students at the No. 1-ranked University of Iowa (yes, the University of Iowa).
UI administrators, no doubt, are and should be disgusted by the designation, which was bestowed by the college-rating organization Princeton Review. It's bad PR for the UI, stemming largely from the annual foolishness called "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day."
Just what is a party school anyway? In the minds of those seeking some sort of university utopia, it's a place where it's all fun, all the time. It's a place where no one is lonely and no one struggles in the classroom. It's a place rich in easily available members of the opposite sex, and relationships are uncomplicated by reality. To the extent that coursework is required, it's a place where everyone graduates magna cum laude without any visible effort.
In other words, it's a place that doesn't exist. All college towns have bars and an active social scene. But anyone who has ever awakened with a hangover understands the downside of being a total party reptile.
Indeed, it's a fair bet that, based on a reasoned analysis, the No. 1 school on the party school list isn't much different than No. 10 or those institutions that didn't make the list at all.
That's because the idyllic vision of campus life represented by the party list is an illusion, even if some people don't have enough experience in life to understand that.
People make their own fun, and it can come in a variety of forms. Some people even make up lists of party schools to entertain themselves and fool others.