• Olivia Hill

How A "Party School" Prepared Me For A Pandemic


My parents had one expectation for me: You have to go to college. It was as if my birth came with a prophecy my immediate death if higher education was not pursued. Since they were helping immensely with financing, I decided to ask if they had any opinions on any schools they didn't want me to apply to. My dad thought it over, assuming that any standard four year university would do, until one crossed his mind.

"Maybe avoid that one party school down in San Diego..."

I scoffed and agreed, I had my eyes set on the beautiful University of Californ--

Fast forward through years of irony to my childhood home being filled with San Diego State merchandise.

* * *

When the pandemic ushered us all to work from home, I realized my laptop would implode if I didn't clear up space. I wish I could say I had to move drafts of my novel, or short films to free up memory, but it was pretty much a bulk load of the same over-exposed iPhone photos from parties throughout my undergraduate years. As I went through the pictures, I gained a better perspective of how a "party school" prepared me for a pandemic.


Lesson #1: The Obvious

Do I really need to waste my word count typing this out? Wear a Mask.

I was never really into the rave scene (I get agitated if there aren't equal parts lyrics to a song), but I remember this photo being taken and my little kleptomaniac hands not wanting to part with the skull bandana. Who knew that this accessory could save a single elder or an entire planet one day?

Lesson #2: Trashy Tigers Will Unite Us

So it's March and we've all been ordered to stay inside. We cry and whine because all we want to do is be surrounded by coworkers we complain about, socially unaware idiots at crowded bars, and family members we disagree with. We are given a moment of unity via Tiger King (Netflix) and for a moment, we all have something to discuss that is literally wild. Excuse the Elle Woods equivocation, but dare I say that the kind of unity this docuseries provided could once only be found at frat parties with shoe-horned themes that made me purchase what was clearly a scarf and say, "this will work as a shirt."


Lesson #3: Open Up Honestly With Your Loved Ones

To clarify, in the early 2010's my mom (pictured at right) convinced me that I needed to add the acronym for "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY" to her name so that if I passed out she could be contacted before I passed away. This screenshot was taken a few years after that conversation, in a time when 3G reigned supreme. As you can see--through the conduit of humor--my mom and I have an open dialogue on vices, and it has only grown since I've been stuck inside and need to vent to just one more person. If you haven't told the woman who stayed sober for 9 months how many debaucheries you're getting into each week, I highly recommend it. It is extremely cathartic, cheaper than therapy, and has rebuilt the bond cut at the umbilical cord.


Lesson #4: Choose Your Partners Carefully

Some of us holed up with the person we had a one night stand with before the Stay At Home Orders were instituted, and some of us began to dislike the things our actual nightstand would say to us at 3 AM when we couldn't fall asleep. Things like "you keep so many unnecessary documents in me" or "you use me as a sad excuse to feign decor." I saw this picture and was reminded that inanimate objects can hurt you just as much as failed relationships, and suddenly Marie Kondo's message became clear. I will be claiming my independence parting with said nightstand in the very near future.


Lesson #5: Stock Up On Necessities

I am not afraid to admit that I went panic-shopping in March. By the time I went, all the good flavors of soup had been claimed and the only pasta available were shells the size of my fist. (Which I learned are for completely different use from it's noodle cousins only after awkwardly boiling and serving them.) Lucky for me, I tend to enjoy the less fine things in life that most people are disgusted by, as reminded to me by photo capturing the time I was overjoyed to find ninety-six slices of Kraft Cheese at Costco. This once got me through mid-terms stress and by God it'll get me through pandemic stress.


Lesson #6: Vote.

When your nineteen, boy-crazy, and have not truly felt the wrath of a real hang over all during the Obama administration, it's easy to spend your time in Poli-Sci doodling notes rather than really absorbing them. But let me tell you, it makes for a horrendous cram session on "Government" years later when the nation is divided and quite literally, on fire. A friend pointed out to me that just like the persuasion of a tan, attractive JFK in the televised debates against Nixon, we are entering an unprecedented time where something like Meme Culture could be our generation's unlikely tool of persuasion. Pay attention to the world around you, and then the world around that, and make sure to vote.

*I procrastinate with most things in life, but voting early is something I recommend to everyone who hates lines, stress, crowds, stress, sweat, and stress.

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