“So, are you going out tonight?”
It’s such a common question we hear on a Friday night.
Wait, scratch that, a Saturday and Sunday inquisition.
Recently, a friend and I decided to relax during the move- in weekend so we sat on a bench in Vaughn courtyard. Little did we know, a live comedy show was about to start.
As the streetlights twinkled on, we realized how many anxious students buzzed around campus. Groups of men would pass by all dressed up for a night out and planning their latest conquest. Some were bathed in cologne, making even the shortest elevator ride quite unbearable.
To make matters worse, a herd of women in crazy high heels and dresses barely covering half their skin clattered by.
I commend their brave wardrobe decisions. After a couple drinks, cobble stones and an unsteady outfit a sprained ankle seems inevitable.
Fascinated, my friend and I just sat on a bench mesmerized by the insanity in front of our eyes. We joked about investing in a clicker to keep track of just how many girls in scandalous clothing passed us by.
I’d wager the clicker would max out around eleven o’clock.
Tampa attracts people from all over the nation: from its annual Gasparilla festival (where girls flash strangers for beads—basically Tampa’s very own Mardi Gras) to the numerous hot spots for thirsty partygoers, there is certainly something for everyone. Maybe the local bar or a show at the Ritz is what gets you out of bed.
Being surrounded by such an exciting atmosphere can get you caught up in the less significant things in life.
Moving from a small town to the city is like dating someone new. You go through that honeymoon phase where you hit the club every night because it’s a new thrill.
It becomes the flavor of the week.
But as time goes by, well, let’s just say Ybor and Channelside starts to bore you.
It’s usually the same people and the same song playing over and over and over again. I mean how many times can you listen to “Boom Boom Pow” or “I Kissed a Girl?”
Yeah, the local DJ can mix it up with a new beat, but it’s still the same old song and dance.
It’s true; some of us never get sick of going out. Getting all dressed up or going out to meet some new people is okay in my book, but I prefer to kick back and lay beneath a palm tree’s shade with a nice book in Plant Park.
Don’t get me wrong; you’ll probably see me at a party every now and then.
I’ll be right there with you on the dance floor or crowd surfing at a concert because I’m still that stressed-out college student that needs to unwind.
Life as a Floridian has taught me that the weather is great, the nightlife is fun and being a Spartan is the only way to go.
Ladies and gentlemen, in a matter of less than a year I believe I’ve grown out of the stereotypical college life.
Instead of becoming attached to the freedoms of a student without parents I have fallen in and out of love with the city of Tampa. With the transition from a freshman into a sophomore I learned that some things are overrated, and that passing several intensive writing classes is my new trend.
I stopped drinking as much and going out became less common because I realized that acting childish wouldn’t help me stay in this magical city.
Sure, making nice with all the party promoters can be used to your advantage but getting below a 2.0 GPA and losing all your scholarships will definitely kill your buzz.
My experience in Tampa has taught me that sometimes the bright lights and the revolving dance floors are the perfect temporary escape.
It also makes me realize that the same thrill found in a nightclub can be found by having a picnic by the river.
A mixture of the aesthetic beauty, the nightlife, UT and its vast availability for fun are all the reasons why Tampa is my new home. One in which I plan to stick around to see change.
Several friends and I spent our first year together living the expected college party life and placed fun as a higher priority than school.
Now, looking back at being a freshman all I can say is, “Wow…I was that girl…and what was I thinking?!”
I don’t care who you are; no one looks attractive with disheveled hair, an odor reeking of alcohol, smeared makeup and a missing shoe.
Classy is a word some students don’t understand, so I’m just hoping that if I do invest in that clicker, my thumb doesn’t grow an extra muscle.
Every night I glance out my window at all the incoming freshman running around in an attempt to catch a cab to the clubs.
But in the mean time I will continue this affair with Tampa, because there is nowhere else I’d rather be.
Narisa Imprasert can be reached at email@example.com.