Thirsty Thursdays make for rough Friday mornings
October 5, 2006
Students sitting in a 9 a.m. Friday lecture two weeks ago were learning about dinosaurs when one student sitting in the middle of the room got sick and vomited on the floor. When they realized what had happened, many sat in shock, unsure of what to do. The guy got his stuff together and left without saying anything to anyone, while other students simply sat in shock. Several minutes later, the professor was notified, and he quickly left the room.
As the classroom started to smell, students began to talk about the oddity they had just witnessed. The guy sitting who had been seated next to the ailing student sat silent before saying he “had never been in that situation” before.
When professor Michael Middleton started to cover up the mess with newspapers, he said, “I guess that’s what happens when you start your weekend on Thursday.”
Class continued as usual.
While the stench wasn’t getting any better, sighs of relief could be heard around the room when a custodian entered the room to clean up.
And class once again resumed.
They were all adults in that room, a group of seniors taking their science capstone. So it seemed that a little socializing on Thursday night was a legitimate sacrifice to a queasy Friday morning.
Thursday evenings out on the town are often spent in the bars.
Local bar workers know there are many students who like to go out Thursday nights, and accommodate them by having drink specials for “Thirsty Thursdays.”
Specials range from $2 Long Island iced teas and $1.25 domestic bottles of beer at Bo’s ‘n Mine, while Mel’s has 75 cent beer taps, and two-for-ones can be found at Coach’s Sports Garden.
Marcus James, a UW-RF student and bartender at Bo’s, said Thursday nights are usually the town’s busiest. He said Bo’s sells more Long Islands than anything else because of the specials on the drink.
Justine Benzen, a 21-year-old student, said she drinks Long Islands at Bo’s on Thursdays because it’s a lot of alcohol for a little cash.
But at what cost are these weekday specials?
Tim Murray, a 21-year-old elementary education major, said he drank a lot one Thursday night and still felt drunk when he was going to class early Friday morning.
“I did make it through the day without puking though,” he said.
While Murray has a laissez-faire approach, there are also students who recognize they have an early morning class and drink accordingly.
Student Brian Peterson, 22, said he only goes out about one Thursday per month and when he does, he doesn’t drink a lot because he has class early the next morning.
“I usually will have two or three beers, and that’s it,” Peterson said.
He said he doesn’t go out on Thursday nights to get drunk, but rather to be with friends.
“I want to go out to socialize and be with my friends,” he said. “That’s part of college — socializing.”
Regardless of the level of intoxication reached by senior Bryan Ryba, he said he keeps academics a priority and still goes to class.
“I have never missed a class after drinking,” he said.
Even some of those lucky students who don’t have class Friday mornings have to go to work early, but still choose to party and drink on Thursdays.
“I have to be at work by 8:30,” Benzen said, adding she chooses to go out anyway because she wants to be with her friends.
UW-RF graduate student Jim Filling has to be up for work between 6 and 6:30 a.m. He said he will still go out at least one weeknight, but experience has taught him to drink a lot of fluids the next day and take a combination of pain relieving medication.
Filling recalled his undergraduate years when “Thursday nights were glory nights,” he said.
Those glory nights seem to revolve around socializing and the idea that students think Thursday night is the beginning of the weekend.
Bartender James also said Thursday is a special night.
“Thursday is the weekend,” he said. “Everyone looks forward to Thursday.”
Malisa Hyland doesn’t have class on Friday mornings and said she also goes out Thursday nights to spend time with friends.
“It’s a suitcase campus and everyone goes home,” she said. “It’s the only night we can socialize, really.”
Hyland said even if she did have class on Friday mornings, she would probably still go out on Thursdays.
“Being social one night per week is more important than a 55-minute class,” she said. “You can always go home and take a nap.”
James said as the night wears on he starts to hear more comments from customers about not making it to their 8 or 9 a.m. classes. He even said there is a professor who comes in to have a pitcher and then “cuts himself off because he doesn’t want to be like his students.”
While some students arrange their school schedules without Friday morning classes so they can go out on Thursday, not all professors will accommodate the ones who do not. Animal science professor Kris Hiney teaches an advanced nutrition course at 8 a.m. on Fridays.
Hiney said she has weekly quizzes that count for a significant part of her students’ grades, so attending and doing well on the quizzes are vital for her students.
She said she hears stories from her students about how they went out the night before, taking hints from the Gatorade they bring to class and the way they smell that they were out drinking.
Comparing her early morning upper-level courses to the early lower-lever courses she has taught in the past, Hiney said she thinks students learn to handle partying better as they get older.
“Along the way they realize how to manage it,” she said. “If not, they have to accept the consequences or choose to not [drink].”
People involved with the University are not the only ones who see the effects of drinking during the week. Police also notice the many people who choose to start their weekends on Thursdays.
“It’s one of our busiest nights,” Patrol Sergeant Mike Reardon of the River Falls Police Department said. “There’s an obvious increase of alcohol consumption.”
Reardon said he thinks the majority of the people at bars or house parties on Thursday nights are university students. He said there is a significant increase in the number of people who are out when classes are in session compared to summertime.
While some universities have discussed having a policy of no classes on Fridays, Hiney said she thinks it’s a bad idea.
“It’s never good to bow to the fact that students need to indulge,” she said.
Students, take note from someone who has been in the game for a while.
Grad student Filling said he had the key to success as an undergrad: “Study hard during the week, and party hard on Saturday and Sunday.”