I am going to start off by blowing your mind. For those that do not know, Stony Brook is not much of a party school. Shocking, I know. While other schools may be known for their recreations of “Animal House,” the average Stony Brook student’s idea of a big celebration is not failing a biology exam.
Personally, my spring break is going to be spent home studying for three upcoming midterms. However, we are cool with that, for the most part. We knew what we signed up for and in return for not partying four days a week, we receive an actual education.
As a proud man of half-Irish descent, the time to party came during St. Patrick’s Day, but the local festivities were sorely lacking. So I did what any logical person would do: I made the six-and-a-half-hour-trek to Binghamton University with a couple of my friends
For those that do not know, Binghamton is rather notorious for its Saint Paddy’s Day festivities. The website BroBible.com ranked it the 10th-best college party in the nation; some reports peg the participant count at over 50,000 people.
So obviously, when we heard about this, my friends and I asked everyone we know at Binghamton to clear a spot on their dorm floor for this wild bacchanalia. Soon enough, March 6 rolled around and we all set off.
The ride up was pretty hellish. The combination of rush hour traffic in the Bronx and my friend controlling the aux cable was not fun at all. However, after what seemed like the billionth time listening to “I’m Gonna Be” by The Pretenders, we finally made it.
The night that we arrived was spent catching up with old high school friends and experiencing the not-so-shocking revelation that a sleeping bag on a hard wooden dorm floor did not make for a good night’s sleep. It did not matter though, because the next day was the much vaunted Parade Day.
Our alarms sounded early, as Parade Day starts for many at 8 a.m. For some, the drinking began soon after (I was the designated shepard for me and my friends to downtown Binghamton, where the festivities are held. Stay safe kids), By about 10:30, we had made our way into the heart of the revelries.
The first thing I noticed was that while there were not 50,000 people there, there was still a substantial number of people in downtown Binghamton.
There were huge mobs of people lining the streets and pretty much every frat house had opened its doors for potential party goers. It was a wild experience for sure.
As far as parties go, this was probably better than anything I better been to at Stony Brook. The party had soon died down for my friends and I by 4 p.m., and we headed back to campus.
We got food at one of the Binghamton dining halls, where I was shocked to see a full meal of a cheeseburger, fries and a drink come out to $3.75 on my friends meal card.
It was quite an overwhelming feeling of superiority, eating much better food after a much better party against a backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges that Stony Brook did not come close to offering.Yet, talking to people at Binghamton, they sounded shockingly similar to our peers here at Stony Brook.
They complained as loudly as we do about the food and bemoaned the workload of their classes. My friend said that Parade Day was the most school spirit they ever show. I realized a few things on the way back. First, “I’m Gonna Be” by The Pretenders had become my favorite road trip song of all time.
Secondly, though, I got a reminder of the old phrase that “the grass is not always greener on the other side.” People are going to start complaining about their surroundings no matter where they are.
There is always going to be something about somewhere else that makes you want to leave. In the end though, as much as I want a party like Parade Day or food like Binghamton’s for Stony Brook, I still would not trade Stony Brook for the world. It is my school and no matter how great Binghamton seemed, I knew the grass was not greener, despite the fact that I could not actually see the grass through the snow at either school.