Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Ditching the University ball

It’s coming up to the end of the academic year here at Warwick, and that can only mean one thing – it’s ball season. Time to splash out on a fancy outfit, head off to a hotel far away and have one big party before summer, right? Well, you know what – I don’t think I will. I’ve never enjoyed balls, and I really don’t understand why others do. It’s a waste of time and money, and a miserable night out – why would you subject yourself to one?

How does a ball go? You’re bundled off on a coach to a fancy venue, specifically chosen to pretend that the night’s proceedings will be classy. You lounge about for what seems like forever, trying to make the one free drink you’ve been given last long enough to avoid having to hand over a fiver for the hotel’s cheapest drink. Eventually, you’re shuffled into the dining area – if you’re lucky, there will be a brief bit of entertainment.

What price for all this merriment? This year’s Sports Ball would set you back £50, and Grad Ball a similarly hefty £53

More usually, it’ll be a brief bit of entertainment coupled with long speeches about vaguely positive things, delivered by people you’ve never heard of. There are often awards, guaranteed to tick off the 0% of people there whose societies go home empty-handed.

And then, onto the food. Between three courses, you’ll probably have enough food to make up one portion. It’s small and not very good, and you’ll be hungry minutes after you’ve finished it. This then gives you a few hours to dance in clothes not made for dancing in weather far too hot to be dancing, or sit at your table at try to have a conversation over excessively loud music. The coaches are a long time coming, if they’ve even been laid on at all.

What price for all this merriment? This year’s Sports Ball would set you back £50, and Grad Ball a similarly hefty £53.It’s a sizeable cost, and these balls never really deliver an experience that is anywhere near value for money. Everything you can do at a ball, you could do at home for cheaper, while having more fun in the process. The amount of money people are willing to blow on what is just a pretentious night out is staggering – at a conservative estimate, the ticket, outfit and drinks must cost at least £100. Your most expensive night out all year is likely to be one of the least enjoyable – how could you pay for that?

There’s always pressure on students at this time of year to go to balls, but I genuinely think that you’ll have a happier time avoiding them

Who are balls even aimed at? A lot of people go because they want to spend their time with their friends – but there are so many, far better ways that you could do that. Go for a meal, for a fraction of the price and a happier atmosphere. What about the drinkers among us – those who see balls as an excuse to party and get drunk? Again, you could head to many more suitable places – the Colly, Neon, Smack… And, unimaginable though it is, there must be some people who actually like the pomp and ceremony of a ball – in which case, how can they possibly enjoy the sub-standard version of one on offer?

There’s always pressure on students at this time of year to go to balls, but I genuinely think that you’ll have a happier time avoiding them. Balls are rubbish, and you can easily have a better and cheaper night out of your own volition with a fraction of the effort. Go for a meal, head to the pub, go clubbing – have a night out that you’ll enjoy, rather than falling into the bizarre trap of buying a ticket for an event that appeals to nobody.

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