Stripping Down BC's Hookup Culture

So you sat through a panel of students on the first day you visited BC, you listened to endearing anecdotes and Q&A's with Orientation Leaders, have done your Facebook stalking and Class of 2018 Group posting. Yet, the hormonal elephant still sits unaddressed in the room: What’s the exact deal with BC’s “hook up culture”? What even is a hook-up? And, judging by a few of your posts in said group, some of you may even be wondering, “Is hooking up in college mandatory?”

Don’t fear, little Eagles, I was once in your confused Sperrys, too. I know how the rumors swirl and everything you’ve ever known about dating from high school seems suddenly irrelevant the night before move-in day. That combination of hearsay and doubt can leave you wondering whether you’ll be asexual until graduation or if you should start accepting your life as a promiscuous student now to fit in to your imagination of college social life.

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Take a deep breath and relax, because I’m here to set those extremes straight and tell you what it’s really like. As one of the thousands of people involved in the hook-up culture on BC’s campus, I have an insider’s perspective and wisdom, and some old-fashioned sympathy. So with apologies and unmentioned names for the stars of this article, here’s some advice and truth behind the real questions you wished you were asking current BC students:

1. Do people hook-up at every party? Is that the norm?

It depends on the party. Here are some basics:

  • Mod Parties—a term that translates to senior housing, lots of party apparatus and lots of people from all years crammed in to small, sweaty, dark spaces. If you want a meaningless hookup and you don’t really care with who, go here. If you don’t want a hookup and just want to be in a fun crowd, go here. The beauty of the Mods is that there are usually so many people that you can either find what you’re looking for, or not look for anything with no attention on you in either circumstance. People do hook-up in the Mods, but it’s not the vast majority—there’s not enough space for that, and we do have some decorum when it comes to PDA—this is BC, not BU, after all.
  • Club or Organization Parties—this is risky. It’s a smaller group of people that you’re going to be spending a lot of time with. If you end up even so much as kissing someone, be prepared: everyone will find out, you are going to see them frequently and you will probably end up wanting to be friends with them down the road. So, keep all of these things in mind. This could be a good thing because you can develop a strong friendship that could turn into something more as the year progresses, or you two could simply just enjoy each other’s company in small doses. Either way it seems like an okay choice. Take it with a grain of salt, though, because every individual is different, and when feelings don’t match between two people, there’s always a chance one of you will get hurt. Regardless of which club, this happens frequently.Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 9.54.44 AM
  • Random Parties—this is a mixed bag. If you happen to end up at an Iggy party, or Walsh party, or even some CoRo party, who knows what will happen. Always go with a friend, and remember that just because you don’t recognize the faces of attendees, doesn’t mean you’ll never see them again.

TLDR; yes, people hook up at parties. It’s normal, but not expected every time you go out at night.

2. Did dating die at BC?

Dating does exist at BC. It may be hard to find, but it does indeed have a pulse. Look at it this way: College has a stereotype of being a time of self-discovery and uninhibited “fun” with all the freedom you have. That’s great. People get a taste of this and love it, and then aren’t trying to give it up for the first cute student who expresses interest.

If you’re the one interested in someone who doesn’t want commitment, don’t take it personally. You’ll be on the other side soon enough, and when you are, don’t fret about that either. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t mean you’re being mean and it isn’t abnormal.

It sounds cliché, but if you’re meant to be with someone, you eventually will be. In college, timing is everything. You both need to have the time to spend on one another, and have gotten whatever you need to out of your system. We all have certain expectations and hopes for college, and until you live them out or try them for a short time, they’re always going to be in the back of your mind. Do what makes you happy.

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3. Do I break up with my high school boyfriend or girlfriend because, well, college?

I wish there was an easy answer for this one, but there’s not. Personally, long-distance didn’t work for me, and we both saw that within 2 weeks of my moving in at BC. For my roommate and a friend, long distance worked great, although one significant other was only a short distance away at another college in Boston.

From my observations, it seems like long distance can work if you come to college with no doubt in your mind that the person you’re with now is who you want to be with. So if this question is on your mind, then I think you and I both know the answer.

If you’re unsure, you’re probably going to push your relationship to find out how close you can get to not being in one in order to tell which route you’d prefer: the bending and uncertain single route, or the steady and consistent coupled road. While wavering on the edge of testing the water may seem like YOUR best option, remember that it’s not fair to your significant other, especially if you never define with them where your relationship can stretch to with you both still being comfortable and happy.

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4. Is everyone sleeping with each other and then never talking again? And what about my safety?

No. Just no. People do take things far, but its usually when both parties involved already know each other and want to take that step. At every college, there is the reality of rape, and the idea of being taken advantage of is terrifying. What it comes down to is that our school and our students are passionate about the safety and comfort of each Eagle in this nest: BC continues to draw attention to the issue of sexual assault, continues to promote campaigns of consent and respect and encourages individuals to make good decisions.

From my own personal experience, I have never felt unsafe or wary about being out on campus late, by myself, or at parties. I trust my fellow students and I know myself. It would be wrong to believe that rape is a nonissue, but do not let the fear of it happening to you or one of your peers keep you from doing what makes you happy or what you want to do. Just make sure to always maintain awareness, keep yourself safe and take into consideration what your partner also wants.

That being said, once you do something, you can’t retract a physical action, so think before you act. Realistically, if you happen to make out with some kid at a basement party off campus before engaging in conversation, yeah, I wouldn’t expect to hear from him or her. On that note, you will eventually develop a pretty good way of reading scenes: know what you’re getting into before you make any decisions.

All in all, young Eagles, you have a world of opportunity ahead of you. Keep these pearls of wisdom in mind, but remember: part of the fun of freshman year is learning from experience.

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