“There’s nothing to do!” It’s the mantra of young adults everywhere, the perennial complaint of high schoolers and college kids alike. It was something I was worried about when I was thinking of coming to Grinnell. It’s a small college in a small town … what if I was bored every weekend? What if the only thing there was to do was drink? I didn’t like the idea of that.
My mother laughed at my worries. “What do you do now? Go to the movies, hang out in coffee shops with your friends. Grinnell has movies and coffee shops, you’ll be fine.”
I wasn’t convinced. And even though the brochures listed all of the free concerts, dances, plays, and lectures, I remained skeptical. The thing I didn’t count on as a senior in high school was the people. It’s been said that the people who decide to come to Grinnell are a unique breed, that we’re all a little crazy in our own way. I don’t know if I’d go so far, but I will say that I’ve never met so many people who are so good at creating fun out of nothing.
Last year, a friend of mine was given a miniature fondue set for Christmas, and we thought we’d make a chocolate fondue. We bought chocolate and pretzels for dipping and sent out an e-mail letting people know where we were hanging out and that we’d have food. Having food is key to luring a college student anywhere.
We thought a few people would come, but we didn’t have very high hopes, because it was a Friday night, after all. Boy, were we surprised. Not only did people come, but they also brought good stuff for dipping in the fondue. We had kiwis, strawberries, bananas, and Nilla wafers. Eventually we ran out of chocolate and started melting chocolate chips my friend had stashed in her room.
It was an incredibly fun night, and not only because there was chocolate. We invited all our friends, so we ended up with a mixed bunch of people who hadn’t known each other before that night. My friend Danny ended up giving someone impromptu ballet lessons in the hallway. Leda and Emily got into a fencing match with the fondue forks (which were, I might add, only four inches long). A whole bunch of us played cards, using Life cereal instead of poker chips.
It was a great night, mostly because it was so spontaneous. We didn’t have anything planned except fondue, but the night took on a flavor all its own. So while concerts and movies are great, sometimes just hanging out can be even better.
Elizabeth Bologna '08 is an English and History major from Fairfield, Connecticut.