Have a hoot with the night owls

Late-night boredom blues can be a bust. But in this wonderful city we call home, Tampa has a myriad of places to go and people to see. Although it’s easy to get lost in the neon lights, the trick to finding the surreptitious midnight hangouts is answering the perpetual question, “What are you doing tonight?”

Monday nights are a gamble. Recuperation from the weekend is still in full boom, and only true soldiers dare to go out; The Greenery Pub is the place to be. Tuesday, Bahassa caters to college students with “college night,” where drink specials abound. On Wednesday, Gator’s Dockside is the hot spot, with barely any walking room throughout the bar and patio. Thursday’s affair, of course, is Ybor City: our very own city of tattoos, piercing and late-night pizza, decorated with throngs of girls scantily clad and boys dressed to impress. Friday and Saturday are up in the air with endless possibilities of parties. These are merely the tip of the iceberg of college snares that pull against the current of studying and academia.

There are so few that are left unscathed through the college experience. With debauchery running rampant, many are left mystified in the wake of partying with the question, “Is there anything else to do?” The answer is yes. In fact, there are many alternatives that are commonly overlooked by the majority.

On campus, there is an assortment of activities that are socially welcoming. Movies on the Lawn, every Wednesday night, are a complimentary option for students and an assured good time. Friday nights in the basement of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center, the Underground features live entertainment. Late-night pickup games of volleyball are sporadically played throughout campus on the provided courts scattered in various dorm sectors. A late-night game of tennis is also a way of having fun and accruing agility.

For those who want to venture off campus, nocturnal trips to Wal-Mart are one of the building blocks to a complete college experience. The slogan “Open 24 hours” is a constant welcome that embraces fellow insomniacs. Another suggestion, from senior Mike Stevens, for a more serene environment is Borders.

“I go and study (there) because it’s nice and quiet,” Stevens said.

Nothing cries louder in the middle of the night than the munchies. Open until 2 a.m. every night, The Bulls Den Cafe (formerly known as Andros) is always welcoming hungry students who find their tummies growling after midnight. Also, a directory of late-night food options is listed in the daily planners that are provided by USF, noting hours of operation, delivery options, phone numbers and addresses for over 30 establishments, most of which offer student specials.

Nighttime is not always a time for sleep or socializing; for some students, it is the perfect work schedule. Senior Sean McLawhorn works as a bouncer at the Amphitheater in Ybor City. Taking classes in the evening, McLawhorn exploits his nights for profit, working five nights a week and stretching his workday into the twilight.

Whether for work or play, the night has a glamour that can’t be compared with sunshine. However, one must remember that the night, in all its glory, can dupe many with its wayward wiles of the world. Waking up an hour early is much more difficult after going to bed late into the night. Take heed, because even the best intentions don’t turn in assignments or help to pass an exam, no matter how much fun last night was.