Do endless Fireball whiskey, towering 30-racks of Natty Light, huge splifs of that potent green and conveniently priced handles of Rubinoff Vodka make Boston the best college town in America? The fact of the matter is yes; those factors do contribute to Boston’s superior mastery of the collegiate lifestyle in which we lucky Bostonians may indulge in to our satisfaction. However, these good times are only a small part of Boston’s vivacious college culture.
On Feb. 23, an organization known as “I’m Shmacked” uploaded its “Boston Takeover” video to the Internet. The four-and-a-half minute movie is compiled of short clips of BC, Harvard and BU students drinking beers, raging in dorms and clubs and going H-A-M at the Beanpot. Meanwhile, I sit in my O’Neill cubicle for the umpteenth hour studying God knows what, and I realize that the "I’m Shmacked" video captured very few of the actual experiences that Boston-area college students endure.
Perhaps there are broad generalizations that non-natives attribute to those of us who live, study and party in Boston. "I’m Shmacked" does a decent job of portraying these apparent generalizations in its most recent video. Hockey games are a huge part of Boston life – as Boston schools are indeed the top dogs in the sport – as well as raging in the snow. The video makes it look like we, despite the feet of snow on the ground, are capable of having a lot of fun here in Boston, which is very true; however, there are two sides to every story.
It seems to me that there are two perspectives from which the “Boston Takeover” video can be interpreted. The first is that of the prospective college student looking at Boston schools. "I’m Shmacked" may give them an opportunity to glimpse the party scene of a particular school, a relatively harmless ploy; however, if you take a moment to watch the videos "I’m Shmacked" made for other schools, you will surely find that the events taking place at, say, Syracuse – drinking, smoking, games, etc. – are strikingly similar to those that happen in Boston. Shocking! My advice, if you know a kid looking at colleges, let them know that "I’m Shmacked" videos may not be the best insight for a college decision.
The second perspective is that of those who are currently enrolled at BC, BU or Harvard. A prospective student may watch the movie and say, “Wow! Look how much fun those kids are having on the T,” while I would watch the same clip and say, “Wow! I hate the T. Why would they show the T?” Alright, that may be a bit negative, but do not let my disgust for the T blind you from my point that there are almost 10,000 undergrads at BC and each one has a different experience. I, thanks to our splendid new Gold Pass system, did not even go to the Beanpot this year despite the "I’m Shmacked" imposition that the Beanpot is a major reason to attend BC. The most misleading aspect of the short movie may be its lack of portrayal of the stressed-out student who skips the Beanpot while he decodes the vile messages inscribed in his O’Neill cubicle as he procrastinates on studying for his macroeconomics midterm the next day. "I’m Shmacked" did not film me sitting on my couch playing GameCube for three hours, nor did it film me writing the same essay for six hours – two major components of my simple little Boston Beanpot week.
Generally speaking, "I’m Shmacked" is not a bad thing; it makes Boston look like a ton of fun and makes me look a lot cooler than I consider myself to be. Although in the broadest sense possible, "I’m Shmacked" does shed a bit of light on the college party scene and offers a few examples of extreme fun specific to the nature of a particular school, like drunken sledding and hockey games. What they refrain from showing is the arduous half of the college lifestyle that requires diligence, grit and the will to succeed. That being said, no harm is done, kids will discover that darker half when they get here and will adjust accordingly – it’s what makes us Boston Strong.
Really, "I’m Shmacked" should have waited till St. Patty’s Day to capture the height of the Boston party scene, if you catch my drift.