As most of you have probably heard, Maclean’s magazine recently rated StFX as the “#1 Party School in Canada”.
I picked up the last issue of the Xavarian Weekly hoping to get some varied, clear, and concise thoughts and opinions on our newly achieved honour. Instead, there was only one piece that denied the accuracy of the survey, then conceded to it, accused the faculty of conspiracy and the school as having “a problem”, debated StFX’s image without giving much of an opinion, and finally called for an academic revolution within the liberal arts faculty to regain its prominence over “practical degrees” such as business and nursing.
I hope I wasn’t the only one left scratching my head at this.
I appreciate the attempt to resurrect the extinguished glory days of StFX liberal arts program (I’m an arts student myself), but it is simply wishful thinking. StFX will never be what it was, nor will any other university. The author does admit it is a product of “the flow of the times”, and he is absolutely correct. The university scene is evolving. People want more than an education from post-secondary institutions. There is a cry for an all-encompassing experience as well as the guarantee of job certainty in today’s turbulent employment market. You can’t blame StFX for changing with the times, and if you don’t like it you can go “invest” yourself in a different university.
Obviously, I think there were a few issues left unaddressed by the latest article, and wish to clarify, inform, and give you my opinion on what it means to be the “#1 Party School in Canada”.
Under normal circumstances, national recognition of any type would be warmly welcomed by the student body, faculty, and staff with humility and pride, but this news seems to elicit a mixed reaction from the Xaverian community.
There are people who deny it. They ardently swear StFX isn’t any worse than any other university and that our academics mean more to us than you’d think.
There are those who love it. They will tell you StFX has way more and way better parties than any other school across the country, which is probably true.
There are those who will tell you, yes, partying is part of StFX, but it’s not all of StFX. Look at our sports teams and our academics. We are so much more than just a party school. This is the message sent by Kent Macdonald in the “We are StFX” video posted to Youtube two weeks after being nominated top party school.
There are alumni who hate to see their alma mater be slapped with such a title, and there are other alumni who concede to it without much argument. As the author of the previous article mentioned, “Came for the party, stayed for the ring” is not a new expression.
In my opinion, all these reactions boil down to the same thing: people trying to control StFX’s image. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, there are some things that are out of your control. Yes, we are the top party school. But I don’t think we should flout it, flaunt it, or attempt to assimilate it with the rest of our identity any more than anything else.
Ultimately, this news in no way changes my experience at StFX.
Some say, but what about my academic/professional future? How will this “party image” affect the value of my degree? My response to those people is that you were the one to decide to come to StFX. This isn’t the first time we’ve been ranked amongst the best party schools by Maclean’s, so unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past fifteen years, you can’t deny knowing what you’ve gotten yourself into.
In the end, you came to StFX for a reason. Whether you came for the all-encompassing experience and a practical degree or for the pursuit of higher learning and top-notch professors, you will have the chance to experience all of these things before graduating. And that’s what I think the most valuable part of the StFX experience is - it’s having the choice to be a part of all these things that make StFX great.