Most Yalies would agree that February is far and away the lousiest month of the year. Winter has dragged on for far too long, and you’ve grown overweight and under-tanned. Midterms are creeping up, and anxieties begin to surface over your lack of summer plans. In your first three years of college, February’s only redeeming quality seems to be its shortness.
But not this year — not in your senior year. Feb Club is here to help you forget about the snow and make you seem slim, tan, and attractive again every day (at least at 2 in the morning). 28 days, 28 parties, hosted all over campus by people and groups across the social spectrum. Last year, the majority of parties had few decorations and unmemorable themes, though some hosts chose delightfully bizarre themes and dressed the part (the “Michael Crichton books” party stands out in particular). And just one party, as far as I remember, required significant capital expenditures: the occupants of Pierson Lower Court used Feb Club funds to purchase several standalone outdoor heaters for their Mardi Gras event, and those heaters now reside on the first floor patio of an apartment in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan.
Roughly 800 members of the Class of 2010 bought wristbands that granted them access to every Feb Club event. It’s likely that a vast majority of those people attended fewer than a dozen parties. Going out 12 nights out of 28, or three times a week, seems incredibly reasonable. There are, of course, some incredibly unreasonable people at Yale, and they are the ones who aspire to attend every party and achieve the exclusive title of Feb Club All Star.
While the overall pool of Feb Club partygoers were diverse and pretty representative of Yale’s student body, the makeup of the pool of All Star hopefuls seemed to fall so tidily and predictably into three “types” that you’ll simply have to excuse my willingness to draw boxes around people. There were Wednesday night Toad’s regulars, who were looking to cement their reputations for hard partying. There were homebodies who saw Feb Club as a microcosmic chance to do college again, this time down a new path. And finally there were type-A go-getters who, satisfied with the content of their actual resumes, just had to chase superficial accomplishments in new realms.
In the end, there were seven All Stars in the Class of 2010. I was among the seven, but just barely. I went too hard the first week and ended up extremely ill. Yale HEALTH determined that I had mono, and it seemed like my journey towards All Stardom had come to an insurmountable roadblock. As that night’s Feb Club event began, a friend texted to ask if I were really going to let mono stop me from coming. I told her that I could win this day’s battle but would almost undoubtedly lose the month-long war, and I was just choosing to cut my losses early. She responded back with only two words: “I guess.”
I know those words were really just meant to express disappointment, yet I found them too biting to ignore. I crawled out of bed, pulled on some sweatpants, and slowly dragged myself across campus. A few days later, my blood tests came back negative. I was mono-free and able to complete my quest.
I like to tell this story as a display of my own tenacity. The truth of the situation, however, was simpler and much less flattering: I was afraid of missing out. For many people like me, senior year was the ultimate test of managing one’s own FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). What if I don’t go out tonight and I miss an incredible time? What if I miss out on meeting someone special or creating some special memory? I’m only a college student for so much longer! What if that was the last time I could do [blank]?
In February, I let my FOMO run wild in hopes that I would get it out of my system for the rest of the semester. I slogged through parties when I was sick or tired, when I was in no mood for partying, or when I had lots of work to do. Yet, all things considered, I was happy I lived Feb Club that way. Sure, there were some clunkers, but some of those clunkers were actually among the best parties of the month, and perhaps of my whole four years at Yale.
In the end there is really no wrong way to enjoy Feb Club, and the Feb Club All Star in me cannot recommend that you attempt to do what I did. But as a perpetual sufferer of FOMO, allow me to suggest that you let your FOMO take control once in a while this month. For once, your fear is spot-on: never before and never again will you so easily have such a great time with so many of your fellow Yalies, any number of whom run in completely different social circles from you. It really IS the last time you will have the opportunity to go to a Yale party every day for any of 28 consecutive days. You can’t relive senior year, and despite the best efforts of the Feb Club Emeritus group, you can’t relive Feb Club.
Well, unless you live in Murray Hill. I hear those patio heaters will be getting plenty of use this month.
Jee Bijan graduated from Yale in 2010.