Whether you’re at a big school thriving with Greek life or a tiny liberal arts school without a single fraternity or sorority, partying is hard to avoid. Come Thursday night, campus will be teeming with students in various degrees of inebriation. Partying certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you are curious about your college’s party scene, here are some tips that will ensure you have an enjoyable, safe, experience:
• Go with a friend: Never go to a party alone, especially if it’s off-campus. Find at least one person you trust and stay in communication the whole time. If one of you feels uncomfortable or sick, there’s at least one other person to make sure everyone gets home safe. It’s not a bad idea to come up with a communication system in case of an emergency (a code word or gesture to signify that you’re sick or someone is making you feel unsafe for example). Arrive together, leave together, and stay near each other in case of an emergency.
• Plan ahead: Find out who is hosting the party, what kinds of people will be in attendance, if alcohol will be provided – anything that gives you a sense of what to expect. Fraternity parties differ from drama department cast parties, and seniors throw different types of parties than underclassmen do. If the host has a poor reputation or a record with campus authorities, it’s probably not the wisest place to spend your evening. Also, make sure you have transportation to and from your destinations. If you’re walking, go in a group; if you’re taking a car, make sure you have a designated driver.
• Stay aware: Keep track of how much and what you’ve been drinking throughout the night. Pour your own drinks to prevent potential drugs, and keep your drink with you at all times. Also, if you’re confronted by someone you don’t know or you’re feeling uncomfortable with someone you’re socializing with, leave immediately.
• Know your school’s drinking policy: Read your college’s student handbook and find out what the consequences are for underage drinking. Most schools understand that students inevitably drink, and their drinking policies are enforced accordingly, but you should know the possible repercussions just in case. If you have any questions, ask your Resident Assistant or an upperclassman.
• Drink smart: If you choose to drink, take care of yourself. Eat and hydrate before and throughout the evening to slow the absorption of alcohol, and know how much alcohol you can have before you feel sick or uncomfortable. If you followed the first tip, you have someone nearby who will be on alert if you look out of sorts, but you should be taking precautions for yourself as well. If and when you begin feeling unwell, it’s time to leave (with your friends, of course).