As someone who is about to take the long-awaited walk across the stage at the Civic Center on May 14, that other walk — the not-so-memorable one involving alcohol — has taken on new meaning.
For years, seniors of all shapes, sizes and majors have come together the Thursday before graduation to celebrate their accomplishments in a way they have honed to perfection over their college careers—an alcohol induced stupor.
In years past, the day usually begins with a trip to Kelleher’s—because as everyone knows there is no stressor an Irish pub cannot rectify. When I say “the day begins,” I’m not kidding. These battle-hardened college professionals begin at 7 a.m. with mimosas on the Riverfront.
Kelleher’s owners should consider themselves lucky. These students, most of whom have never seen 7 a.m. their entire college careers, are on their best behavior at this first stop and more interested in sharing memories than putting lampshades on their head.
As in years past, students will be encouraged to leave their vehicles in Kelleher’s parking lot to avoid drunk driving.
The seniors will then move on to Old Chicago where they will enjoy additional drink specials or its many flavors of beer.
Next, the travelers trek Downtown where more drink specials and opportunities for debauchery are waiting. Sully’s usually provides a good dancing environment for those who have had enough alcohol to enjoy it and Richard’s Downtown provides the food for the famished walkers in the form of horseshoes and cheese fries.
For those who are looking for pizza that is palatable even when you aren’t drunk, (ahem, not Bacci’s), Hoops is always a great option.
The last leg of the tour comes on Farmington Road, where Crusen’s offers more drink specials and “the best DJs in town” (although by this point, you probably won’t care about the DJ).
As the day’s antics wind down, many students find themselves at Jimmy’s enjoying free popcorn and probably the company of some new friends.
But is this Tour de Liquor really representative of a simple alcohol-induced celebration? Or something more?
The seniors who walk down the aisle in front of all of their family and friends on Saturday will do so out of tradition and respect for those who helped make that day happen. But as most seniors know, the friends and memories they made while at Bradley have been some of the most important and influential they will ever have.
That is what Senior Walk should really be about. Sharing one last good time with people who you may never see again, but who undoubtedly touched your lives in ways you may never even realize.
So here’s to this year’s Senior Walk. May you carry with you your memories, booze and drunken friends not just on this day, but for the rest of your life.