Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Is Partying a Pointless Revelry in America?

By Yixin Zhao
MA Candidate, Columbia University

Before coming to New York City, I dreamt about every good reason of being here. One of them was experiencing an American party. Yet, holding the thought that partying is a blind and pointless social interaction, I presumed going to such events would be unwise. However, my opinions changed after being invited to a birthday party of my classmate, Gia.

As you may already have seen or known from the internet, movies, and TV, attending parties is a common social activity in America where people mingle and have fun. The classic scenario in which people are drinking, flirting with each other with loud music on and end up waking up the next morning not knowing what happened last night was my initial impression about parties. But when I came to New York, I learned that there are so many other forms of parties. For instance, there are casual parties between close friends or family and formal business parties.

The first party I ever went to in New York was the birthday party of my classmate. The host Gia and I knew each other from painting class and we had good time talking with each other. So I accepted the invitation without any hesitation. Yet, I had worried a little about how was I suppose to behave in such an occasion, but then I figured every first-time is like this and I just had to let it be. At the party, I had hilarious incident opening champagne and it spraying while everybody laughed. Then we played an old TV game called MATCH in which everyone became familiar with each other. It was a really fun and happy evening! After that, my aversion to the party lessened.

Party in the U.S. (by Yixin Zhao)
But I got my wake-up call from another party, which was more formal than the birthday party. After a school event, there was an after-party in the evening for speakers, students, and professionals to meet and talk with each other. I had a bit of a hard time and mostly sat down on the couch talking with people near me. Even though this was not quite a satisfying experience, I was challenged in terms of social attitude. The next time I was in a similar situation, I felt more comfortable and poised to talk to strangers. Truth is when I put myself out there, the embarrassing situation turned out to be a very meaningful exchange.

Through several encounters with different parties in New York, I prefer to think that partying is a positive social endeavor. It is like wandering in a bookstore where you can walk into with no particular plan. Then probably you would first browse through different covers and titles; once you pick up and open a book, it will be a small world unfolding slowly in front of you. Of course, it might not be so smooth to find the exact book you want, but I think as long as you find something meaningful, surprising, inspiring, or even funny is all worth the trip.

After all, partying is all about people, so why not give yourself a chance to be somewhere new, meet someone strange? In this way, you will see how people interact with each other and what is valuable to them in American culture. It is good practice to know how to be around people who are different from you and can be enriching to know what is going on in other people’s lives. They always say life is short, so “carpe diem”!


Yixin Zhao is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University, majoring in Communication and Education. She previously studied Communication in Beijing Jiaotong University. In the pursuit of becoming a storyteller in media industry, she is currently an intern in SinoVision English Channel.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments posted on may be moderated.

Like us on Facebook for exclusive content from U.S. Admissions Experts!