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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Cheers to the UA, a top school for parties and academics”

Embarassing? Skanky? Diploma factory? Let’s not get carried away.

Zach Sokolow’s Feb. 2 article about UA’s inclusion in Playboy’s annual party school rankings seems to have stirred up some resentment among students, alumni and faculty members concerned with the implications of our reputation as a school that knows how to have a good time. Apparently, some would take Arizona’s place on this selective list as an indicator of poor academic performance and standards, and, even further, as an endorsement of unhealthy behavior.

But, these closed-minded critics fail to realize that the Playboy poll is an indicator of the quality of life for university students who pursue a certain type of socialization. The cynical implication that studiousness or intelligence mutually excludes one’s ability to enjoy one’s self outside the classroom is a typical misconception (usually held by those who rarely get invited to parties).

Let’s address, for a moment, those who claim that “”partying”” limits one’s post-graduate success. One needs only take a look at a study done at the University of Michigan in 2001, which found that among both men and women, annual income was higher in people who drank regularly (up to a point) than among those who avoided alcohol consumption. Indeed, the highest incomes were among men who consumed an average of 2.6 drinks a day. This may indicate a level of comfort with social interaction that is a key to success in most jobs today.

Some, however, have even derided Playboy’s celebration of the number of smart, knock-down gorgeous, sexually confident women here on campus. It is difficult to imagine why students should be discouraged from interacting with attractive members of the opposite sex. Are people who enjoy safe sexual behavior in college really that much less likely to succeed? Is being attractive supposed to be a sign of lower intelligence?

On the contrary, the UA has a very solid academic reputation, especially compared to other large public schools. Those who feel ashamed that they got their degree from a “”party school”” should note that the UA currently has the nation’s highest-ranked optical science, space science and business entrepreneurship programs in the country. Among 629 public four-year institutions in the U.S., UA is consistently ranked in the top 50 overall academically and has been rated as a “”public Ivy”” by college placement consultants. The only other Pac-10 schools to earn that distinction: UW, UCLA, and Cal Berkley.

Should the hard-working students at the UA feel embarrassed for having perfect spring weather? How about having the country’s best softball and swim teams or the biggest student union in the Pacific 10 Conference? These points of pride don’t impact academics, so why look down on the student body for throwing the best parties?

The key here is that maintaining an active and exciting social life is not necessarily counterproductive to academic achievement. Enjoying a cold drink, a hot date or a good party is nothing to be ashamed of for a population of young, dynamic students looking for ways to relax after working towards achieving a world class education. Arizona has been recognized by a widely-influential publication as a great place to enjoy four of the best years of one’s life, and students should be forgiven for wanting to celebrate.

— Wade Beavers is a political science senior.

He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu/

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