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It's Fling time again. Every year, Penn students consciously make the decision to make Spring Fling an unforgettable weekend, one that most of us recollect fondly through a substance-induced haze. SPEC plans for months in advance to get Fling set up, and many of us spend time and money to ensure that our weekend is the best party of the year. But why do we focus so much on one weekend? Take a second to consider what makes Spring Fling such an important part of our campus identity. Fling began 29 years ago as a festival to celebrate the coming of spring and the end of classes. Of course, college students in general and the Penn campus specifically were very different in 1972. The Vietnam war was still raging, Nixon was in office and the drinking age was still 18. Those students needed a celebration. It was a tumultuous time in America, and when Fling began, it provided a respite from the tension that dominated the campus. Since then, however, Spring Fling has come to represent more than a peaceful love-fest with guitars and sing-alongs in the Quad. Although the early 1970s were a time of American unrest, students then had more freedom to be young than many of us experienced. Most of us experienced the pressures to succeed early on in high school, and the demands we place upon ourselves have not diminished since. And as we continue to face the pressures of graduate acceptance, job offers and future plans, we need an outlet to remember that we're still just kids. We may go to one of the premier intellctual institutions in the world. We may be preparing to be the world's leaders in medicine, law, business and academia. We may be the greatest minds of our generation. But damn it, sometimes we just want to say "screw it" and have fun, too. Fling represents -- for every student on this campus -- the opportunity to forget our responsibilities and party from Thursday to Sunday morning with no regrets. We value this opportunity incredibly. We spend weeks preparing for house parties, frat parties, downtown parties and Quad room parties, just to make sure that we take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy ourselves. Most importantly, Spring Fling gives everyone the opportunity to party. Even the most studious of us take a break to spend the day in the Quad, hang out on Hill Field or at the carnival at night and stay out until the sun comes up. We have taken Fling and used it as an extention of our campus identity. Try as Judith Rodin, Robert Barchi and the rest of the administration might, they will never undo Penn's reputation as the "social" Ivy. We are students who want to enjoy our college years, the ones who want to remember our four years on campus as more than studying and grades. So Fling becomes, for us, a defining moment of each academic year. It sets us apart from our cousins in Caimbridge and New Haven as a student body intent on enjoying itself. Fling is the ultimate opportunity for us to revel in our rapidly fleeting youth. And our passion for keeping Spring Fling alive has overcome even the most dire of challenges. When tragedy gave the administration the opportunity to make Fling dry, we overcame it. And Mother Nature's scorn means nothing in the face of drunken Penn students who want to party. The Penn students of the early seventies faced a world filled with turbulence; where college was their only respite and their only place to be free of responsibility. Now, the pressures upon us are all-too-common, and the opportunities for us to enjoy our youth and irresponsibility are all-too-infrequent. Our four Flings at Penn may be some of our last great chances to be young. Everyone on campus has worked incredibly hard to provide a single weekend filled with nothing but fun. And while Sunday may be spent nursing the worst hangovers of our lives, I know I will enjoy mine to the fullest. So this Spring Fling, step into the Quad knowing that it may be one of the last chances you have to fully enjoy yourself as a kid. The rest of the year is filled with more than enough responsibilities. Enjoy the weather -- whether it rains or shines. Enjoy Ben Harper, the Black Eyed Peas -- and especially Tiffany. And enjoy everything you love most about Penn. Enough musing about what Spring Fling means. It's time for me to get my Fling on.

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