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Another Saturday Night

What you do on a typical Saturday night, I would posit, says much about your current stage in life. My own Saturday nights aren't pretty. Sure, there's that annual dinner out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. And three years back we did venture out to the movie theater to see... hmmm... I can't remember now. Most Saturday nights, though, you'll find me decked out in sweats, cleaning the kitchen and catching up on the week's mountain of laundry, while my youngest tugs on me to watch the umpteenth episode of "SpongeBob SquarePants" and my husband plows through the bills. I consider it a victory if my head can hit the pillow, lights out, by 9:30. I nod off with the certainty that everyone else I know must be out having a rousing good time -- late-night lattes at the local Borders, intimate dinners for two at the trendy new bistro downtown.

To my surprise, we found a similar wistfulness among many of the Hopkins students interviewed and photographed for this issue's cover story, "Saturday Night." Here were young adults who to my eye appeared to have before them an endless smorgasbord of fun-time options: concerts, parties, pubs, computer games, basketball, films. And while most did indeed appear to be enjoying themselves, there was an underlying current of apologetic certainty that everyone else out there must be having more fun. Like the frat member who, while conceding that Hopkins does have a pretty decent Greek party scene, noted, "This will never be a state school." Or the trio of undergrad buddies who spent their night aimlessly riding the Hopkins safety shuttle. Describing their situation as "really embarrassing," they assured our writer, "We're not normally doing this on Saturday night." Or the freshman cheerleader and friends who divulged that they usually spend the hours leading up to midnight working on their schoolwork -- "because we're dorks."

What's wrong with this picture? Perhaps, whatever our age or station in life, the level of expectation we hold out for our Saturday nights is unrealistically high. We'd probably all be better off if we set the bar lower, let go of the notion that everyone else is off having a blast (memo to self: they probably aren't), and allowed ourselves to revel in the quiet pleasures: of family, of communal study sessions, or even the camaraderie of shuttling to nowhere.

My goal for this Saturday night? To tackle that laundry, then sit down to snuggle and watch "SpongeBob" -- content in the knowledge that there's no place I'd rather be.

-Sue De Pasquale

Return to February 2003 Table of Contents

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