The First Night: Bright Lights, Big City

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Bacchus smiles favorably upon you tonight! May all your parties look like this.

Tonight is the most important night of your life, the first night of college. You’ll probably do something sort of fun. Here’s what some of your elders did their first nights at Columbia. It gets much better from here. Don’t throw up! NB: Not every Bwog post has bullet points.

  • When I got here I was alone and I hadn’t slept in something like 72 hours, and hadn’t eaten in just under a day, so I stumbled around for quite a bit, going through check-in, unpacked, and then spent the next ten hours walking these huge circuits around Morningside Heights, coming back up the John Jay stairs to the 9th floor and back down in the heat maybe twenty times, before finally tiring myself out and passing out for half a day.
  • My first night of college I got drunk in Carman then went downtown and got high. I could have skipped the first part.
  • An international student, I moved in a day early. A number of us—students from Canada and Kenya and China—went for a long walk in the summer evening down Broadway, up Amsterdam. We talked about politics and America and things we hadn’t expected to happen in the past seven hours, and travels and family and what languages we spoke and what languages we wished we spoke back home and. (Home, no matter where you come from, feels very far away if the people around you are not using the metric system, and say, ‘zee,’ and correct you if you ask for the “washroom.”) Later that night I sat out by myself on the balcony of my John Jay room (I found out the night afterwards I wasn’t supposed to), looking northwards to campus and southwards to the city. I fell asleep in a strange bed.
  • I spent the first night talking to one of the girls on my floor—she’s been my roommate and/or suitemate every year following. Some other floor members wandered in and out, and at one point someone told us they were going to a party and promised beer if we attended. We both declined, and as rising seniors neither of us has been to a frat party yet.
  • I went to school with Mono and Lyme Disease, so not only could I not drink, but I was so exhausted that I slept through most of NSOP. I remember few things from that week. Word of advice to freshmen: beer pong is an evil, disease-spreading game. Although my beer pong skills may have been at their prime for my entry into college life, I could not use them and thus lost them. However, I was unaware of this, and bragged about how skilled I was. Imagine how unimpressed my highly skilled friends were when I played for the first time in months! Embarassing. Haven’t touched the pong ball since.
  • My 18th birthday fell on the second day of orientation and I had this brilliant idea to take a shot for every year of my life. Then I went to a COOP party and danced like a hooligan. I think this was the night my RA dubbed me and my friend The Mischevious Ones. Don’t remember much else.
  • I went to a frat (pretty sure it was Beta) party my first night. The few college parties I’ve been to before that were strict on letting guys in without girls so I went with this one NSOP friend who I convinced to drag along like a good chunk of her Carman floor with me. I remember going up to the steps being like “hey, I’ve got GIRLS!” or something. They didn’t care. Probably cared more about guys actually, for recruiting. Anyways, afterwards I went with a few NSOP friends and walked (walked!) all the way down to 90th St. or so and back drunkenly. Needless to say, I hardly interacted with anybody in this story again. Shows how far NSOP goes.
  • We started the night by using the beer pong table we stole from campus the night before. Stealing that table was a story all in itself because we ended up walking into Carman around 3 at night, bloodied up and hammered. God knows how we got by the security guard. That story, however, will not be explained because the current story ends much worse. So back to beer pong. I had filled up a camel-bak with around 8 shots, 2 monsters and some gatorade. With that gone, I was pretty drunk but wanted to play beer pong anyway. Many patrons from our floor and floor 12 came in to to compete in the awesomeness known as beer pong.  A few games and Bon Jovi songs later, we got written up. I poured out most of the booze, but then tried denying the giant plastic jug of vodka behind my back that I was trying (read: badly trying) to hide. Upset with Sgt. Buzzkill of the 12th floor, we decided to go to Pike’s beach party. I don’t really remember much of the short trip there, but next thing I know I have a drink in my hand and I’m ready to go. The next memory is me allowing people to line up and five-star my back as hard as they could. From there on out, there is nothing that I remember though it has been told to me from multiple people. I was apparently launched from Pike by the frat boys because I lined up in a corner and bull charged (with my head down) the whole crowd of people. My next memory is the wake up the next day. I awoke in my bed in quite an unusual state: still drunk, swimsuit only, broken phone, bed soaked in some kind of liquid and a peeled banana smashed all over my ass crack. Apparently my roommate’s friend thought it would be funny to peel a banana and smash it under my suit.

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  1. Anonymous

    Glad to see my story made it up there.

    Oh Orientation, the best time I could never remember.

  2. ew

    not that anyone should brag about going to frat parties, but you've never been to a frat party and you're a senior?

    • Psshh...

      I went to a few frat parties in high school - at a couple of local schools. By the time I got to Morningside, I didn't have the slightest interest. Now, as a rising senior myself, I've probably been to less than five throughout my whole time here.

      Though, I have to say that I sort of regret it. I mean, one of the drawbacks of the city is the fact that it's too good at drawing students away from campus. So, I can't help but wonder what life would be like at Columbia if more of us were inclinde to hang around and party together.

  3. anyone who knows him...

    ...knows who posted the drunken pike story with the five stars, bull rush, and soaked bed. something tells me that the strange liquid was urine. and that something is the dozen subsequent occurrences.

  4. that makes sense

    for guys. same here. rather not deal with the constant sex ratio crisis.

  5. Anonymous

    Amazing-- but fourteeny friends, don't stress if you're not feeling NSOP. I found the whole week kind of awkward and have no awesome stories, but somehow still didn't end up as a social outcast. I made my real friends when classes and extracurriculars started up, and the epic times came later. You're not a freak if you don't find yourself ZOMG HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. Relax and enjoy it for what it is (i.e. see the city, learn lots of names, and stock up on free food).

  6. oh man

    that last bullet just familiar

  7. UGH BWOG...

    you're getting boring. stop posting so much. For how many NSOP posts are appropriate, please see: the last 3 or 4 years of bwog's NSOP coverage.

    • Good

      Fucking POINT. Freshmen shouldn't be the news.

      • Eliza  (Bwog Staff)

        Indeed, I've spent much of my summer obsessively reading Bwog NSOP coverage since NSOP 2007 and consulting with former Bwog editors about the best way to cover NSOP. Today was 2014's first day of college, and we want them to read Bwog and write for us and we want to help them out on their first day. We tried to do as much as we could today-- talking to freshmen, posting often, etc-- to help them out, give them advice, chronicle their first day. All stuff we wish we'd had as freshmen. We think these posts are actually pretty funny (taxidermied rodents! melting car foam!) but if you have specific suggestions on how our NSOP coverage can be better, please email me at Thanks for reading, and I mean that.

  8. Fuuuucckkkk

    I did not know we had such hard core bros at columbia fuuuuucccckkkk

  9. Anonymous

    what if you don't drink...are you doomed to becoming a leper?

    • Anonymous

      Not unless you want to become a dudebro.

    • Advice!

      Don't be the non-drinking asshole who stands there with their arms crossed, making a point of refusing any and all alcohol offered them. Sip one drink or, if you've truly sworn by Styx never to touch the stuff, be as inconspicuous as possible about abstaining.

      Despite everything you may hear about not-drinking being just as accepted as drinking, it boils down to this: nobody wants Carrie Nation at their party.

      • Hey Asshole!  

        I don't drink. I go to parties but I'm not a downer. If offered a drink, I simply decline and I don't make a big deal. If I don't want to drink, that's my choice, just as it is your choice to drink. If it pisses you of that people give you shit about drinking, then surely you can understand that it pisses me off when people give me shit about not drinking. It's my decision. Fuck off. Don't tell me to take a sip. And I don't give a shit if you don't want me at your party. I don't want your drunken ass in my Res Hall. Dick.

    • Survivor

      No, you'll be fine. If you don't want people asking about it, just drink out of the same ubiquitous red Solo cup as everyone else. The fact is most people won't make a big deal about it. But at some point in the next two years or so, someone will make a passing remark about how non-drinkers make them feel self-conscious or threatened as a drinker. Guess what, that's their problem, not yours. Don't feel pressured to drink, and if people are weird about it, forget them. There are too many awesome people at Columbia who will like you for who you are.

      Tip: Don't be the person caught drinking up all the mixers. It's bad form. Pick up a coke bottle for yourself from the vending machine downstairs to avoid this awkward situation.

      • Anonymous

        A good response.

        This response is from a drinker's viewpoint:

        Go ahead and not drink. Hell, I give props for the person who doesn't drink or plans on waiting till they are 21; a lot can be said about the willpower needed to follow that through. I do request, however, that you don't use that as a stump to go all preachy on people. If someone wants to drink, it's their choice just as it is your choice to not drink so please respect it. Most people won't seriously get in your face about you not drinking, so don't get in their shit for it. Granted, there will be the occasional asshole who will call you a bitch for not drinking, but chances are, those kind of people aren't worth hanging around so don't worry about staying clear of them.

        I think the general concept to take from this is to have fun in your own way. Don't become known as the resident cave troll who never leaves their dorm and people don't know who you are. Go to a party and drink water/soda if you don't drink. Get out there and explore a bit and meet people. I met some of my best friends drinking and some of them through sober experiences. Just don't knock either and figure out what works for you.

    • Anonymous

      I didnt drink first semester, had a great semester. Did drink second semester, had a great semester. Although there were apparently multiple times where people honestly believed I was drunk and I was completely sober (and not even trying to act weird!) so, maybe I'm a bad example. But seriously, some people will give you shit for it, others might pressure you to "just try one," but overall, come up with a good standard reply for when they ask you why you're not drinking, and only assholes will make a really big deal out of it. Also, if you start, don't start at a big frat party or something. Start small and with friends at a small hang-out thing.

    • '11

      it's fine not to drink, just make sure you develop a cocaine habit instead

  10. Hey freshmen

    If you are feeling lonely watch this:

    I wish a found this video a long time ago, freshmen year sucked because I didn't fit in much, but now, after taking the lessons from that's like people fit in with me, I'm just am and I wait for epic people to float by and talk to me, I'm so much happier now, take this lesson before loneliness causes you to skip days of classes

  11. Anonymous

    I think I went to bed around 10 pm on the first night, and yet still managed have a socially fulfilling and fondly remembered time at Columbia.

  12. Hey!

    I think the last story was written by our own version of Andy Bernard.

  13. hahaha  

    Canadians aren't international students.

  14. the chron

    coulda skipped the first part :)

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