Last year, when my mom found out that I would be living in a house off campus for my Take Five year, she was enraged. “Off campus? What are you trying to do, sabotage your last year of college?”

“But mom,” I began, “I’ll be saving $300 a month just on rent.”

“Rent?” she shot back at me. “So you’re willing to sacrifice your social life just to save a little money on rent? And what are you going to do about food?”

As preposterous as this conversation sounds, it is indicative of a common line of reasoning amongst many parents regarding off-campus living: that college students who live off campus are missing out on the fundamental aspects of the college experience. Apparently, by living off campus, I won’t go to any parties, let alone hear about them. I won’t participate in any University organizations and I won’t go to any events held on campus. I’ll stop going to classes altogether when it snows, and my only sources of food will be Taco Bell and Kraft.

Well, clearly my mom doesn’t have access to my Facebook profile, because if she did, she’d see that not only was I invited to five parties this week on our campus, I was also invited to parties at the University of Maryland, the University of Southern California and a high school party in Palm Beach, Fla.

My mom also must not be privy to the fact that I have a standing invitation to go to the Frat Quad every weekend and be told by inebriated frat brothers three years my junior that “unless you bring hot bitches in this piece, you ain’t gettin’ in.”

And my mom can’t fathom why I wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to go to parties at Anderson and Phase every weekend. Well mom, try throwing a party that only takes place in your bedroom, bathroom and adjoining hallway, and you’ll soon understand why I do my partying elsewhere.

But parties aside, how could I possibly keep in the mainstream of student life without living on campus – without watching our winless Division III football team every Saturday; without going to the three-month-old movie playing on campus every Friday night; or without having my favorite shirt and half my socks disappear from nearly every load of laundry that I wash?

And how could I possibly purchase food and other accessories on campus without putting declining or flex on my student ID card? While I may not cure my Saturday morning hangovers by paying $7.95 to make my own Belgian waffles at Danforth, I have found another way to eat on campus and concurrently take part in a popular campus event – rushing fraternities. Because I haven’t been a Frat Quad regular since freshman year, and most fraternity brothers in charge of rush are two classes behind me, I spend a week of every fall semester feasting on a wide assortment of Pellegrino subs, Dinosaur BBQ and clams. In order to help maintain my anonymity, I give myself a different name for each new rush event. The commonality between each name I create is that each name is the male version of a famous female pop singer’s name. Last year I was “Kyle Minogue.” I’ve been a “prospective frat boy” since 2003 and, pretty soon, I’ll be able to get food at rush by claiming that I am an alumnus of the fraternity.

Even after I presented these arguments to my mom in an articulated manner, she was hardly impressed. “Aren’t you happy living in a lofted suite in a community of your peers and classmates?”

What my mom, like many other moms, fails to understand is that living in Phase is comparable to living in the Projects, with the primary difference being the abundance of BMWs in the parking lot. I think of it as “subsidized housing for rich suburbanites.” For your $10,000 a year, you, along with five of your closest buds, get to live in a suite that most people would be embarrassed to live in by themselves. You also have the luxury of being woken up in the middle of the night on any given day of the week by your drunken neighbors who randomly decide that 4:30 a.m. is a perfect time to blast a playlist which consists of Tupac, Dave Matthews and the Spice Girls. When you do finally wake up, enjoy having to navigate through a stairway that is littered with broken glass and vomit. Finally, the threat of being “written up” by the seemingly omnipresent campus security looms large in the minds of Phase’s residents.

Suddenly, I knew how I would be able to show my mom firsthand just how skewed her perception of on-campus living really was – by documenting a day in the life of Phase. Armed with a camera, I made my way around Phase on Saturday night and caught all of these aforementioned acts of debauchery on camera. As I was in the middle of filming an act of public urination for the fourth time that night, a campus security car pulled up beside me. Getting out of his car, the security officer began: “we’ve gotten multiple reports that there is a student going around filming people without their consent and provoking them to act in a lewd manner. I’m guessing that student is you.”

“You’ve got it all wrong,” I replied calmly, “I’m just making a documentary for my mom so she sees what college is really like.”

“So you’re a wise guy,” the security officer answered with a smirk. “Well, wise guy, I’m going to need to see your ID.”

“I don’t have it on me,” I stammered back, suddenly overcome with fear. Just then, a student I didn’t recognize snuck up behind me and slapped me very hard on the ass.

“What up dawg!” he shouted. My heart sank as I knew that this student whom I didn’t know would soon reveal my identity, facilitate my being written up and possibly meeting with the Dean.

“Do you know this person?” the security guard asked my ass-slapping colleague.

“Of course I do,” he answered enthusiastically, “That’s Kyle Minogue.”

Schwartz is a Take 5 student.

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