I couldn’t have picked a better weekend to visit the University of Dayton. My best friend from St. Louis, who I’ve known since Kindergarten, goes to school there and she has always talked about how much she loved it. I always promised I’d visit, and it just so happens I was on Spring Break during the biggest weekend of the year there; St. Patrick’s Day. Being a Catholic school, they go hard for this holiday, and when I say they go hard I mean it.
Their 8,000-undergrad population nearly triples for this weekend, attracting people from around the country to celebrate. I woke up to screams, laughter, and music from outside at 4 AM, where many people do “40’s at 4.” My friends and I got a late start, starting our celebration at 8 AM when we were joined by her friends who had been up since 3:30 AM. Wearing an all green, tuxedo onesie, I fit right in with the outrageous attire. After playing games, listening to Irish music, watching the snow fall, and socializing at my friend’s place for a few hours, we headed to the “ghetto” where the real party happens.
We were greeted by a sea of green, where everyone was standing on their front lawns drinking and having a good time. Shortly after we arrived, we saw the “ginger run,” where everyone with red hair paraded down the street, soliciting cheers and laughter from the crowd. We took a short nap in the afternoon, and rallied at night where we stayed out at Tim’s Bar until 2 AM. We ended the night with a pizza and slept off the long day’s activities. Whether Irish or not, everyone there celebrates St. Pat’s Day like they are from Ireland, love corned beef and cabbage, and get their exercise by Irish dancing.
Besides the crazy St. Pat’s celebration, what really struck me about Dayton is that it’s exactly how I envisioned college to be based off movies. Picture “Project X,” where people are jumping off roofs into pools and the clean up the next day takes hours; this is how Dayton was. The people are rowdy but in good spirits, the houses are old and run down but still feel homey, the streets are filled with students laughing and talking, and the bars were old and undecorated but a good enough space for students to gather. At TCU, it’s less of a college town, so the houses are brand new and nicer than any college student should experience, the bars are mostly filled with students but have to be nice enough for the other Fort Worth residents to enjoy, and the campus is less happening, even dead at times. Everything at TCU is so nice and upscale, there is no trashy experiences, which is kind of what college is supposed to be like. I enjoyed the mismatched furniture that crowded their living room, the day drinking, and the way the whole community revolved around the school. I love TCU and I wouldn’t change going there, but there is something about Dayton that just screamed “this is a true college experience.”