If your fraternity house could talk, on Alumni Weekend it would probably sound a lot like Frank Underwood: “Did you think I’d forgotten you? Perhaps you hoped I had. Welcome back.”
Yes, the siren call of Alumni Weekend is too strong to resist. The promise of all your closest friends from all over the country descending upon your old stomping grounds for a weekend of debauchery, nostalgia, and poor decisions in the name of recapturing your lost youth is too much to pass up.
But try as you might, time is a cruel, cruel mistress; there is absolutely no way you will possibly be able to keep up with the undergrads. Stop trying.
I’m going back to my college for my second Alumni Weekend tomorrow, and I probably made just about every mistake a graduate can make last year. Here are some tips I’ve come up with to survive the weekend.
1. Get A Hotel Room
I know the temptation of saving money by couchsurfing is tempting, but it’s worth paying for the security and quiet. Even if you stumble back to your room at 6 a.m. and have to wake up at 9 for a function, event, or tailgate, or if you pass out at the house anyway and use your hotel room as little more than a staging area, the peace of mind you get from knowing your belongings are safe should be comforting enough. No college girls can paw through your things, the risk manager won’t throw them off the roof for fun, and your blacked out undergrad friends won’t mistake your suitcase for a toilet.
If you find yourself with a collegiate paramour for the evening, a hotel is the way to go. All you have to say is, “Do you want to go back to my hotel room?” and she’ll say something like, “Golly gee, mister! A hotel? You must be important and independently wealthy! Take me now, you handsome sailor!” Actually, do women still talk like this? I haven’t dated in two years.
Remember, when it comes to frat couch sex and waking up in an extra-long twin bed with a sore back and no feeling in one of your arms or death, death is preferable.
Split a room with two of your brothers three ways. You’ll all be glad you did.
2. Don’t Be (Too) Stupid
Every graduate gets at least one weekend back at his or her alma mater where he or she throws caution to the wind, forgets his or her limits, and boots everywhere. We’ve all been there–if we didn’t lose our inhibitions and pass out in our own puke, we wouldn’t be graced with the weekly gift that is TFM’s “Fail Friday” column.
But for the love of Belushi, be careful. You actually have responsibilities now, and your actions have real consequences. While it might have been funny in college to get a public urination ticket, get into a fist fight, or mouth off to a cop, that shit can actually get you in trouble now. Not just “college trouble,” I mean you could actually get arrested–which, admittedly, would still be funny to everyone around you. But telling your boss on Monday that you can’t make it to work because you’re in jail? That’ll get you the promotion you’ve been angling for, shithead.
3. Avoiding Sticky Situations
Nobel prize-winning scientists have proven that the younger a graduate is, the more likely he or she will run into someone he or she has dated or hooked up with at Alumni Weekend. The issue here is that maybe you’ve met someone in the real world that you really, really like. You don’t want to screw things up with this person, but your former fling doesn’t quite see things that way.
Avoid the old flames like the plague at all costs. Don’t check-in incessantly on Facebook or Foursquare, and make good use of that new “Block This Caller” function on iPhone’s OS7. If all else fails, one of the best parts of being in a fraternity is that you have an infinite number of single, horny brothers who will gladly run interference for you.
4. Make It To Every Event
At a certain age, it becomes too much to keep going up to your alma mater for random weekends. It’s too far away, you don’t have the money, you can’t get time off work, and with every passing year, a whole new crop of kids join the house. They all have absolutely no idea who the hell you are. It’s depressing, but true.
Unless you want to be the guy that comes up every other weekend, or the guy who never moved out of the house, your opportunities to visit are going to be fewer and further between. So don’t sleep through the graduate board meeting, try to meet as many of the new brothers as you can, and for fuck’s sake, don’t be the guy who goes up for the weekend and doesn’t actually go to the fraternity alumni dinner for no good reason.
Like that badass Captain Li Shang said in Mulan, “Heed my every order and you might survive.” Good luck, Godspeed, and try not to get arrested–because we all know nobody’s gonna fork over the money for you to make bail.