The pinnacle of higher education has desires just like everyone

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Snag yourself… oops, “network with” a future doctor, lawyer, or corporate executive at Professional Executive Parties at the Halo Lounge

By Michele Henry

When students in professional executive programs decide to party they put on crispy blue shirts, huddle in tight same sex gaggles, and look scared standing around the periphery of a dance floor.

“This party is for student collaboration,” said Sanjib Ghoash, a student at the Canadian Chiropractic College and one organizer of the party. “Here, students can meet other students in different [professional] faculties, network, and make contacts for their careers.”

However, judging by the crowd’s desperate glances and hungry ogling it is unlikely that anyone was interested in furthering much beyond their sex lives. On the dance floor sweat-beaded foreheads were masked by extremely dim lighting. Conversations were reduced to smiles and mime in the midst of Mary J. Blige’s voice that became shrill and high while played at a deafening level.

In fact I could barely hear the low grizzly voice of Ryan Jonson, an MBA student at U of T, when he yelled in my ear: “So you are definitely in massage therapy… hey wanna go back home and fool around after this?”

Only seconds after giving Jonson the look of death I was accosted by a lanky group of his friends. One of them, a student who referred to himself solely as Phil brushed perilously close to my sweater as he tried get a better look at my shoes. With his head almost at my feet he took the opportunity to tell me what he wanted to get out of the evening. “I am looking for women who want to meet rich men,” he said as the colour on his crispy blue shirt wilted.

Phil then started to sway his hips while rubbing the neck of his beer bottle until some white head emerged. “The hunter becomes the hunted,” added Jonson who had wet his lips and was wearing a toothy smirk.

The Professional Executive party at Halo lounge on King street Thursday night brought out an impressive mix of degree pending professionals: nursing students, future chiropractors, almost doctors, soon to be MBAs, and massage and physical therapists in training. Missing were students from any Ryerson faculty.

“We definitely want to see Ryerson students at our future events,” said Neil Verma, a medical student at the University of Toronto and party coordinator. “We didn’t have a contact at a lot of Ryerson faculties, so that’s why they’re not here, but we’re working on it for next time.”

Despite some lotharios in the crowd, most professional students are still novice at the art of picking up. Hiding behind one of the six large pillars surrounding the dance floor was Steve Colangelo, a physical therapy student from the University of Toronto. In a shy sort of way he was optimistic about meeting people at the party.

Cradling a beer and darting his eyes nervously to and from a group of giggling girls at his left he said “the education level of the people here is higher so they might be a bit more responsive when you try to talk to them.”

Later in the evening, while standing by the bar, I saw Colangelo heading toward me. “My friends said you weren’t a journalist and that you were just trying to pick me up,” he mumbled.

In the main room two girls in sparkly halter tops clung to the railing of the bar and surveyed the growing crowd. “It’s a pickup party,” said Jessica Jardin, a third-year law student from Osgoode Hall at York. “I want to meet a doctor,” said her friend Yusra Kanwal, also at Osgoode. “He has to be hot, rich, and intelligent, in that order.”

Unfortunately, at the end of the night after starving off several sleazy advances Kanwal went to home empty handed. The professionals ended up acting more like voracious spear-wielding cavemen than students who have supposedly reached the apex of higher education.

This professional executive party was the second of what Verma and his crew hope will be many. Though no dates have been set, the next one is already in the works. Verma and his associates are starting a website that will announce upcoming events.

Overall, the party was busy and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. But was there a more mature vibe because of all the student professionals? Na! By the end of the night the scene looked no different than the average club on a Thursday: many sweaty-shirted men, sleazy come-ons, inept attempts at come-ons, sparkly-eyed females, and lots of dancing.

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