“So, you’re going to the party school?” That was the question I was asked by almost every individual after I divulged the fact that I would be attending the University of Western Ontario. Although I was aware of the school’s reputation, it was definitely not an aspect that influenced my decision in choosing Western. I was drawn to Western’s vibrant campus, enriched and world-renowned academics, and its sense of community despite being home to over 20,000 undergraduate students. However, it seems that all anyone can focus on is the school’s love for partying.
Western was known to be party school in the 1980s as well as the 1990s but the popularity of the school’s reputation peaked when in 2011, it was ranked fourth by Playboy on their annual top party schools of North America list, making it the only Canadian university to be ranked on the list. According to Playboy’s article concerning the school, “more than 20,000 undergrads enjoy a drinking age of 19” and “the bar scene is kicking”. In addition, Saugeen-Maitland Hall, the largest residence on campus, was highlighted in the article for its “notorious partying” and was given the nickname “the Zoo”.
In my last biology lecture, an interesting remark was made about human psychology by Professor Tom Haffie, a 3M National Teaching Fellow. A technical error had occurred with one of the online quizzes where one question was incorrectly marked. Consequently, Haffie received over 500 emails from students informing him of the mistake. He addressed the issue in class along with reminding students of the automatic 20% bonus that will be added on the quizzes, making the loss of the mark completely worthless. In general, humans tend to focus on negative events and remember them in greater detail than positive ones since they make a stronger impact. Just in the same way, bad impressions and stereotypes form rapidly and are difficult to abolish than good ones. And, because of this exact reason, the fact that Western is a party school seems to overshadow all that is good about Western; some of these things include Mustang cheerleaders being the Canadian champions 28 out of 29 times, Western consistently ranking high in research, focusing in areas such as neuroscience and musculoskeletal health as well as offering 70 master’s and 50 doctoral programs, ranging from ancient philosophy to nuclear engineering.
With its diverse people and atmosphere, Western is more than a party school; every individual that chooses to be a part of this magnificent school has so much to benefit from all of the things it offers. When choosing what school to attend, I knew Western was the place I wanted to spend the next four years because I was able to regard the school as a whole as opposed to just considering one opinion, especially that of Playboy’s. Thus, I believe that it is suitable that I write my first post as Purpology blogger about the truth behind Western’s repute, especially since it is the time of the year when grade 12 students are making one of the most important decisions in their life. I chose Western because I believe that it will be an integral part in making the next four years the best of my life. Although it is soon to tell whether my decision will bear fruit, I know for a fact that purple is my new favourite colour.