Monday, March 24, 2014

Maggie's is Getting Old

Thursdays we go to Maggie's. Fridays we go to Maggie's. Saturdays we go to Maggie's. What's wrong with that picture? It's not that I don't like Maggie's (most of the time I do), but sometimes I'd rather not wait in line for an hour to get pushed around, spilled and sweat on. The bottom line is that every once in a while, I crave something more exciting than a neighborhood bar and grill, and I know that I'm not alone.

It's clear that Emory's social scene is evolving. Fraternity row certainly isn't what it was 30 years ago--my parents reminisce of times when kegs lined the street on Saturday nights, and Greek life was a real community. These days, you're more likely to see two guys in a fist fight on Eagle Row than making a new friend.

Of course, the slow deterioration of Greek life at Emory only accounts for a small portion of the struggling social structure. Emory boasts diversity amongst its students, but rarely is a party truly diverse. It baffles me that there are 6500 students at this school and I see the same 200 every Saturday night. Where is everyone else?

When I want a change of pace, I go to the gym. Pick-up basketball is one of the few places outside of class that I've managed to meet new people. As long as I don't jack up too many 3's, I do a pretty good job of making friends. Still, even the basketball court falls victim to Emory's heterogeneous culture. There is a group of international students that refuses to play with anyone else (trust me, I've asked many times). These guys love playing the same sport that I do, but won't share the court because I don't speak their language.

Obviously, I'm generalizing. In fact, I live with two international students, and I certainly don't hate every fraternity on the row. My point, however, is a very real one. Emory lacks community. There are thousands of students at this school that I've never spoken to for more than 30 seconds. I'm sure that most of those people like to have a good time.

The truth is, I exacerbate the problem by going to Maggie's every night. I yearn for community but I refuse to be seen on campus after dark. It's not easy to break out of routine. I'm not asking you to change your life, rather, I'm asking you to take a small step. Make a new friend when you're waiting in line at Cox for lunch. Ask that guy in your class what he's doing tonight. Go to a concert, or a movie, or a Braves game. It's always surprising to learn that there are kids just like you hiding on the other side of campus, waiting to be discovered. In the end, Maggie's isn't going anywhere, but people are. It's up to you to meet them, before it's too late.