Informant: The informant in question was a sophomore screenwriting major at USC. White, female, and a Los Angeles native. She attended the Archer School, an upper-class girl’s private school in Brentwood.
At the beginning of every year the sophomore screenwriting majors throw a party for the freshman to initiate them into the program. This year we had a male stripper. It was a highlight.
What have your experiences been, as a freshman and a sophomore?
I feel like freshman year we all went and the sophomores were like, really drunk already and were all “welcome to screenwriting!” Like it’s an introduction to college and the college lifestyle so like the people in the sophomore class try to make themselves seem as cool as possible every year like we did the same thing where we wanted to seem so fun and so hip and like we’ve bonded so much and we know how to party like college people know how to party and the freshmen are expected to be like “wow you guys are so cool.” And I think we did think they were really cool but I was also like really scared.
Why was that significant to you?
It created unity in the screenwriting program and helped us meet people in the other grades who we wouldn’t have classes with.
Analysis: This party serves as a very familiar, traditional rite of passage to a small, unique demographic. While the idea of a “college party” exists as a very familiar trope to most people of that age group in America, the actual event itself can remain elusive, particularly at the very start of college. For many, this party served as their introduction to a college party and a chance to bond not only with their fellow screenwriters but with the traditional archetype of “college student”.
This event also serves as a sort of initiation rite. The screenwriting program at USC accepts very few students and in many ways acts like a fraternity or sorority. This party serves as a way for existing members of the group to welcome their newer members to their ranks and bond with them in a socially acceptable and enjoyable way.