It's one of life's great ironies: The old are desperate to be young again, while the young are desperate to be older.
This is why when parents urge teenagers to “embrace youth while you still can," it almost inevitably falls on deaf ears.
Sometimes parents are right. MU provides ample opportunities for students to have fun. You don't need to be 21 to have a party.
Deja Vu Comedy Club is a popular location for underage students. Here they can experience one of the main perks of being 21 — going to a club with friends.
Every Thursday is “College Night,” where a small cover charge gains you access to the 10,000-square-foot dance floor.
The club is primarily a stand-up comedy venue and hosts internationally acclaimed acts which you can also enjoy for as little as $7 every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
“The vibrancy of this institution is not just in the amazing academic offerings that we have here, but also in those out of class experiences, those memorable moments that students take with them for life,” said Kathy Murray, the assistant director of student life.
She insists that a vibrant social life is not purely the domain of those over 21.
“It's easy to find all sorts of wonderful things that are going on on campus,” she said.
Murray believes that the most vital resource for students who wish to coordinate their social lives is stufftodo.missouri.edu. This website provides a comprehensive calendar of events, which outlines the array of MU activities both on an off campus.
Dozens of students work hard throughout the year in order to organize and coordinate these activities and events for their peers. There are shopping nights, poster sales, comedy wars, open mic nights, game nights, author talks and many others.
The most active period of the school year is the Fall Welcome.
The most popular event on the Fall Welcome calendar is also the first: The Midnight BBQ.
This year, it will take place on Aug. 18 and is expected to attract thousands of students. Beginning at 10 p.m., it is a good opportunity to meet new people and enjoy free food, music and entertainment.
The Starlight Swim, held each Tuesday and Thursday from Aug. 17 until Sept. 23, is also a key part of this early phase of the social calendar. From 9 to 11 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday, Truman's Pond in the Rec Center is open to ID-carrying students.
For those in search of some entertainment or culture, the Missouri University Concert Series is another option.
Held in Jesse Hall, the series includes musicians, such as LeAnne Rimes on Sunday Sept. 19, and theatre performances, including the Broadway success “Spring Awakening”. Further incentive lies in the fact that all MU students can get half-price tickets.
Indeed, a small budget should not be a deterrent. Most activities on campus are either free or cost very little.
Outdoor movie nights, for example, provide a couple of hours for mental escape with the screening of recent releases, including “Kickass” and “Sex and the City 2” for $1 on Friday and Saturday evenings. Films are free on Wednesdays.
"Everything we do is free. There are no hidden costs,” said Lauren Karr, who is the coordinator of Mizzou After Dark. Mizzou After Dark organizes events every Friday night from 8 to 11 p.m. at Memorial Student Union. All Mizzou After Dark activities can be experienced at no cost to students with a Mizzou ID, and for $5 by friends and family.
“We've just been adding up the numbers and last year Mizzou After Dark gave away $20,000 worth of free food,” Karr said.
A 2007 graduate of the MU School of Journalism, Karr was so impressed by the activities available to her during her time at college that she decided to get involved herself.
“When I was a freshman, it was really nice to know that I could walk half a block from my residence hall, and there was a party," she said. "It was all there — your dinner, your entertainment and you could even walk away with a craft that you had done."
Each event is designed to be a safe, alcohol-free way for students to “get together and let off some steam from the working week,” Karr said.
This year's calendar is an eclectic mix of events designed to cater to a range of tastes and interests.
“But we also want to encourage students to branch out, try something you're not comfortable with,” she said.
Highlights include Mizzou Up All Night on Friday, Aug. 27. From 8 p.m. until midnight there will be Shakespeare's pizza, a DJ, airbrush tattoos and a photo booth.
Spa Night on Oct. 8 offers quick cuts, massages and aromatherapy.
Karr also looks forward to Spooktacular on Oct. 29. The event features a costume contest, ghost hunters, psychics and a DJ.
“We really strive to make sure there's something for everyone,” she said.