Heya, incoming freshmen! College is about discovering yourself: who you are and who you want to be. While your education (should) come first, college is also about new experiences and finding a balance between work and fun. Your first college party can be both exciting and scary, and if you don't know what to expect it can be entirely overwhelming. Here is what your mother didn't tell you about college parties:
1. You can say "No."
It is inevitable that you will come into contact with alcohol and/or drugs at a college party. There is no reason for me to sugarcoat the fact that most people who are there will probably be drinking. You may be pressured into having a drink but you heard it in your elementary school D.A.R.E. classes - alcohol isn't the only way to have fun. If you are uncomfortable with drinking/drugs it is always up to you if you want to say no. If you're uncomfortable in those types of situations maybe the party scene isn't for you, and that's okay.
2. "That wouldn't happen at a place like ______" is a horrible misconception.
It is a horrible misconception to think that predators do not exist on college campuses. While it may be a hard pill to swallow, sexual violence is extremely prevalent on college campuses and it could happen to anybody anywhere. When you go out, please make sure that you are with a group of friends that you trust and always have each other's backs. If your friend wouldn't do something sober, don't let them do it drunk.
3. Get. Your. Own. Drinks.
The golden rule: do not accept a drink from anybody that you don't know/trust. It doesn't matter how nice somebody seems, if you've been talking to them all night, or what - you don't know them. It may sound cynical, but it's important to know what's in the cup that you're drinking. In fact, bringing your own drink to the party is a great idea, too.
4. If you leave it, you dump it.
Your mother probably told you this one, but I'll reinforce it anyway. If you leave your drink anywhere and come back to it, dump it out and get a new one - there is no reason to risk picking it back up again.
5. Wear practical shoes.
Heels may be cute for the pictures and all, but they are not cute in a grimy frat basement and they definitely do not mix with alcohol. There is nothing clean about college house parties and you don't want to ruin your cute heels with sticky punch and sludge.
6. Don't dress in anything you care about.
You're going to be packed like sardines in a basement full of sweaty, drunk people with colored punch in their cups. Have cheap, designated "frat" clothes for those nights when you want to go out because odds are they're going to be ruined after a few nights. Oh, and definitely don't wear white.
7. Frat bathrooms are hard to stomach.
If you drank too much and feel sick, definitely don't head for a frat bathroom. Ladies, I know it's not as simple as stepping outside to go to the bathroom, but just be prepared - frat bathrooms are not sanitary and there will be no toilet paper. Maybe stick some tissues in your pockets before going out.
8. Pace yourself.
It is not a competition to see who can blackout first. I can't assess your morals from behind a computer screen, but I can tell you that being blackout drunk is not fun and the hangover is even worse. Please pace yourself - sip from a cup, don't drink straight hard liquor, you know the drill. It's never a good time to babysit your friends over the toilet bowl, so don't be that friend either.
9. Eat first.
Alcohol will affect an empty stomach in a much different way than a full one, so make sure that you eat a good meal first. One drink on an empty stomach can do the same as 3 on a full one.
10. If somebody is sick, call 911 dammit.
I'm sure that you've heard all of the horror stories of college students dying of alcohol poisoning. If you were drinking and see somebody who needs help, don't worry about getting in trouble — JUST CALL 911! Odds are nobody's going to be arresting you for underage drinking when they're concerned with your friend who has alcohol poisoning. Don't just lay them down and hope for the best - if they are not okay put them on their side with a backpack on their back (this way, they won't roll over) and call for help. Ask yourself this: would you rather get in trouble for drinking or be responsible for something happening to your friend?