Maclean’s ranked the top party schools in Canada, and the University of Toronto, where students spend a little more than 2 hours on average partying per week (one student reported a high of 40), came dead last. According to our campus correspondent, his weekends are spent hiding from security visiting his residence at 11:45 p.m. looking for open liquor, leaving a “dull” party at 1 a.m., and staying up till 3 a.m. Sunday to do his reading for Monday. What follows is a compiled account of party events at U of T that he has personally experienced, although not all on one weekend. If you want to read about a similar compilation of party experiences at St. FX, Canada’s top party school, click here.*
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8:00 PM: I’ve only just sat down and surveyed the giant mound of work and reading to be done by Monday on the surface of my desk when an all-too-familiar knock on the door distracts me. My roommate is in dire need of refreshments and, as he tells me, it would be a gross dismissal of our years-long friendship if I did not join him immediately in search of libations.
8:30 PM: We are in line at the Wine Rack and I can feel my phone vibrating with incoming emails. Surely the bottle of budget pinot grigio I have in hand doesn’t represent an insurmountable obstacle for this evening. “I can totally just get some things done tonight before bed and be up extra early tomorrow to finish,” I say to no one in particular. “Of course!” my roommate says, patting me on the back reassuringly, “Write drunk; edit sober, right?”
9:15 PM: The walk to and from procuring wine has worked up an awful thirst. I have been home for 10 minutes, maybe, and have already managed to fill my second coffee mug with pinot. I am insatiable.
10:30 PM: Without looking up from his phone, already scanning through contacts for the usual suspects, my roommate offers: “We should probably go to a party tonight…” Having abandoned the mug altogether, I raise the bottle in my hand silently in agreement.
11:45 PM: Looking like a derelict clutch of winos, our now fuller posse wanders unsteadily on to the residence floor to find the hallway empty. A soft ‘psst!’ from off to the right breaks the silence and I am pulled into a stranger’s room. “Security is outside arguing with the heads,” the stranger explains, “we’re not supposed to be drinking outside of our rooms.”
12:45 AM: This party is depressingly dull. I leave without saying goodbye to my friends, forcing my way through a crowd of strangers packed into the small room (what would the fire marshall think?)
1:30 AM: Stomach full of wine, head full of worry over my yet-to-be-completed essay, I force myself to shower and brush my teeth before collapsing into bed in front of my laptop. The glow from the monitor keeps me awake until I pass out mid-sentence somewhere on the first page.
1:00 PM: There is a special circle in hell reserved for those who drink a bottle of white wine when they should have been studying. I am in that place.
1:30 PM: Off to a quiet coffee shop to finish up.
3:00 PM: — Work… Shit…. I am still at work.
5:00 PM: I have been at work for a few hours but only in body. My mind and spirit have retreated and I spend much of the day staring blankly at my computer screen.
8:00 PM: Another friend has sent me a message in hopes of persuading me into further masochism. I am nothing if not accommodating and convince myself that a little hair of the dog might brighten my day, so I set off to meet him at the Green Room.
10:00 PM: ‘There is something wrong with this dog’s hair,’ I think, staring at my pint glass. ‘Like rabies or something.’ The world around me seems to exist only in amorphous blurs. I pay for my beer, drop an insincere “thanks” to my friend, and trudge home.
12:00 PM: Let it never be said that coffee does not cure all ailments. I arrive back at my desk at work armed with a solid caffeine buzz and a confidence that only two large coffees consumed in rapid succession can provide.
3:00 PM: I can feel the strength leaving me as the caffeine wears off. I realize I haven’t eaten anything today but don’t dare fill the void in my stomach. There is a special, deeper and darker circle in hell reserved for people who drink a litre of coffee on empty stomachs. I am in that place.
5:00 PM: Temperance continues to elude me as I find myself back out on the street in search of more coffee. I afford myself a small extravagance in the form of a dry Tim’s muffin and shuffle back to the library .
10:00 PM: I marvel at the speed with which my fingers fly across the keyboard. ‘This essay isn’t half bad,’ I reassure myself halfheartedly.
3:00 AM: The newspaper has been put to bed but I am still buzzing on a productivity high; nothing a dram or two from the bottle of bourbon I keep in my office can’t fix. A coworker and I wax for a few minutes, sipping our drinks before the time dawns on me and I remember I still have roughly 80 pages of reading for class the next day. I shoot back the remaining ounces of bourbon in my glass and cough as it goes down. I have never drunk acetone, but I imagine this is similar.
3:15 AM: I come to understand why people drink on planes as I take an all-but-empty streetcar home for the night, the bourbon having imbued a delightful warmth.
4:00 AM: I forego the typical pre-bed conventions, and collapse in a heap on top of my sheets.
9:00 AM: I awake in a familiar bewilderment. Opting not to brush my teeth before unconsciousness set in five hours ago has proven to be a costly error as my mouth smacks of booze and shame.
9:30 AM: A hot shower and frankly prodigious amount of coffee serve as an adequate remedy for the weekend’s sins. I trot out the door with a spring in my step to catch the bus up to campus. ‘This might as well be in Mandarin,’ I think, flipping through my readings for the day, which I have only just cracked open during my short commute.
10:00 AM: I arrive on campus having somehow, miraculously, skimmed the reading to a reasonable degree of confidence. I exit at St. George station as the week begins.
Alec Wilson is in his final year of a B.A. in Political Science and History at the University of Toronto, where is he also the editor-in-chief of The Varsity.
*Correction: This introduction has been changed from the original published version to reflect the fact that the events depicted, although real, did not happen in chronological order over one weekend. Maclean’s regrets the impression that they happened all at once.