Sloppy makeouts, sticky floors, stained clothing, expensive cab rides, and too many rounds of three-dollar tequila. Is this what all university students dream of?

The GTA has a variety of nightclubs for undergrad students to dance away the stress of last week’s failed exam or relax after finally finishing that 20-page paper. Clubbing has become a monumental rite of passage for all undergrad students to partake in.

Clearly, hitting the bars for cheap drinks, stupid mistakes, and sweaty dancing isn’t the most respectable pastime for supposedly well-educated and respectable university students. But I speak from personal experience when saying some of my best memories from my undergrad were at nightclubs. This may sound odd, but a wild night out with someone and reliving the experience the next morning over eggs benedict is a terrific way of bonding with new people.

It wasn’t the awkward frosh dances or meet-and-greets that helped me make friends in residence in first year—it was doing stupid things with my roommate at nightclubs and laughing about them the next morning. Nightclubs do have their merits.

Brunswick House is a well-known student pub for varsity athletes and kinesiology students on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto. Susan Tung, its general manager, offers her opinion: “Some of the best blurry, epic memories I have are with my closest friends at the Brunny. We know what it’s like to be a student, so we keep our prices reasonable for the average student who counts down the days until their next OSAP instalment.

“The front of the venue is a more relaxed pub setting, whereas the back is where you let your inner Beyoncé out. I think it’s a valuable pastime in that you meet some pretty cool people at the bar,” she adds. “Our staff [are] mostly students who are fun, intelligent, and very personable. Many of our customers are students themselves, so it’s not hard to meet social people who also want to let loose every now and then.”

Unfortunately, the novelty of being legally allowed to drink begins to fade after first year.

You get weary of uptight girls in line, sweaty men trying to pick you up, and listening to “Uptown Funk” on repeat. You feel sick in the morning and spend the day either curled up in bed or finding a comfortable seat beside the toilet. The option of spending Friday evening cuddled up with your friends with takeout pizza, a bottle of wine, and some good movies suddenly doesn’t appear uncool. In fact, it’s a wonderful alternative to spending hours getting ready and dishing out endless twenties on cab, cover, coat check, drinks, and food.

“Clubbing used to be something mysterious and cool,” says Sarah Glickman, a third-year semiotics and English student. “I now see nightclubs as a venue for insecure girls and guys looking for an ego boost. It’s depressing and something I need to be highly intoxicated to enjoy.”

Fourth-year kinesiology student Rhys Weeden says it’s not over, but it’s not the best way to spend an evening, either. “Every once in a while clubbing can be a fun experience, but most of the time when at clubs I feel like I would have a way better time at a traditional bar setting,” he says. “You are always stuffed like a can of sardines and most time for guys, girls just think you’re creepy. Even if you want to dance, it’s not particularly fun since you can’t move so you end up just awkwardly grinding on people.”

There is a time and a place to hit the clubs. Every once in a while a night of crazy, embarrassing dancing can be a great way to escape the pressures of university life (and apparently we can get away with it at this age and still reclaim our dignity). But get ready for the more relaxed bar scene and a casual drink with friends as you move into your upper years.

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