How to Stay Safe at College Parties

How to Stay Safe at College Parties

"The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap. Stay safe, eat cake."

When you are at college, you will probably go out once in your four years. No matter what the occasion is, it is best to stay safe and watch what you drink. If you are or are not drinking alcohol, these tips still apply.

Here are some ways to stay safe at college parties:

1. Stay in a group.

When you are going out, always stay in a group. This will ensure that you or your friends will have someone looking out for your best interests. It will also be harder for someone to talk you into doing something that you normally wouldn't be comfortable with sober.

2. Make sure your phone is charged.

When you are getting ready for the night, make sure to charge your phone. You may think you can survive the night on 49 percent battery life, but you probably can't. There have been countless nights when my phone has died when I wanted to take a picture or text a friend back. Make sure it is charged in case of an emergency!

3. Guard your drink.

Never put your drink down. If you ever take your eyes off of your drink, it's best to get a new one. You never know what could have been slipped in your drink. You may think that being "roofied" would never happen to you or at your school for that matter, but you are wrong. I thought the same thing until I found out two people had been drugged at a frat Halloween party. Always keep an eye on your drink.

4. Behave in your dorm room.

It may seem fun and easy to have a few people over in your dorm room or throw a party, but make sure you are cautious. Be aware of what time the CA/RAs go on rounds, and always be cautious of noise levels. Always check who is knocking at your door before you answer it. If you do get caught having alcohol in your dorm room, don't freak out. It happens more than you think.

5. Don't post pictures you may regret.

If you have to ask someone if you should post a picture, don't post it. Always be aware of what is in a picture and if you would want your family, friends, college or future employers to see it. Yes, it may be funny to post a video of your friends taking shots on Snapchat, but make sure it won't come back to bite you in the butt.

6. Choose a designated driver.

If you know you may be driving somewhere, find yourself a designated driver. It can save you the cost of a cab or Uber at midnight and could also save a life. Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking, no matter how normal they seem. If you can save the life of yourself, your friends and the other people on the road, you won't regret having a designated driver or taking a cab.

7. It's OK to say no.

When you are at a party, it is OK to say no. if someone offers you a drink, you don't have to say yes. If someone asks you to go back to their room, you don't have to say yes. If you or your friends notice someone who doesn't want to do something, help them out.

8. Know your limits.

When you first get to college, you may want to party a lot or match the amount of alcohol your peers are drinking — but it is not safe. If you have never drank before, then watch the amount of alcohol you drink, and have a good friend to tell you when to stop.

On numerous occasions I have seen people get "wasted" their first time drinking and make fools of themselves. I have also seen people who drink just to blackout. Not being able to remember your night isn't fun, it's scary. Know when to stop.

9. Find friends you can trust.

Always go out with friends you can trust to take care of you or tell you when to stop. Make sure your friends know your boundaries for the night and to not leave you at a party. The worst thing is when your friends leave you at a party or in a dorm room. Always communicate with your friends on if they want to stay or should stay at a place or party.

10. Don't walk by yourself after dark.

You may think it is safe to walk around your college campus at night, but it's not. Always be aware of your surroundings, such as where the emergency boxes are, who is walking around you, cars, etc. Always try to take someone with you if you know you will be walking outside after dark. If you are unable to, get on the phone with a friend until you are safely at your destination.

11. If you do get split up, stay in contact with your friends.

At some point in your night out, you will lose sight of your friends. Don't panic. If you can't find them by asking around, get on your phone and text or call them. My go-to is to put all of my friends that are out that night into a group text. Just text the group text or call one of your friends. If all else fails, you can call security to take you back to your dorm.

12. Eat before you drink.

Always eat a full meal before you drink. This slows down the rate at which you get drunk and will make sure you don't feel sick. I have come across many girls who drank on an empty stomach and didn't realize how fast the alcohol would hit them. This is super dangerous because you may think you can drink the same amount as a person who ate a full meal and get really sick or even black out. Eat before you drink.

13. Drink plenty of water.

It is true what they say about water; it can eliminate a hangover. Try to alternate between a alcohol and water if possible. If you can't, drink an entire bottle or glass of water before you go to bed. This is most likely eliminate the headache you would normally get when hungover.

14. Don't take alcohol from strangers.

Don't take candy or alcohol from strangers. If you are going to drink someone else's alcohol, make sure you actually know the person past being acquaintances. Even then, keep an eye out for suspicious behavior or signs of being drugged. It's best to bring your own alcohol to be cautious.

15. Avoid alcohol given out at parties.

Again, don't take alcohol from people you don't know. Many parties will have a bowl of jungle juice or a mixture of many types of alcohol. Be very careful of this. This is an easy way to be drugged, and the mixture of various types of alcohol can make you sick.

16. Don't forget your ID.

Always make sure you have your ID with you at all times. You may want to leave a party early, and if you don't have your ID, it will be very hard to get back into your building. Many times I have had to sleep in another dorm because I didn't bring my ID out with me. Don't make this mistake!

17. If you are concerned about a friend, call a CA/RA or 911.

If your friend is throwing up profusely or is passed out, it might be best to call a CA/RA. If you call them, they will be more concerned about the safety of you and your friends than the fact that you have been drinking. If your friend is unconscious and isn't responsive, call 911 right away. Alcohol poisoning is not a joke and is very serious.

With this being said, don't forget to have fun! College is one of the best times of your life and you want to make the most of it. Also, make sure to document your night. You will be able to look back at these pictures and remember the good times you had with your friends. It is always fun to look at your pictures and videos the morning after. Just stay safe!

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Poetry on the Odyssey: An Immigrant's Narrative

A response to the prompt: What makes you wake up and greet the day?


I am four years old.

I have a dream of the time I had a sleepover at my friend's house

She groaned at the obnoxious buzz of the alarm clock

Her mom gently rolled her out of her princess themed bed

She asked if she could sleep over at my house next week.

I didn't know how to tell her that I didn't have one.

I didn't know how to tell her that my daily alarm clock consists of the shouting and hollering the elderly lady that my mother cares for makes.

My mother does not roll me out of bed.

She nudges and hovers above the ancient ottoman where I lay.

She looks at me steadily with tired, sleepless eyes.

A finger pressed against her lips. Shhh...

The old lady hates children in her home.

I nod and say "sure!" to my friend anyway and hope she forgets.

I am 6 years old

I wake up 5 minutes too late. The Metro Bus leaves at 5:50, it is already 6:30

I hold on to my father so tightly I can hear the gears in his head slowly whirring, cranking out the vocabulary words he learned at school

His strained eyes press together so hard he could see the equations he was studying embedded on his eyelids and like a tree in harsh winds, he sways from side to side, falling asleep standing.

I look up at my dad and say sorry

My father smiles and whispers "it's okay," as if he didn't have enough energy to generate a voice

A shiny red car suddenly stops in front of us, the gust of its powerful engine suffocates our breath

It is my friend in the back seat, she rolls her window down and scowls at me in pity. Ashamed, I turn my tired eyes away and hope that my worn-out uniform would magically look new.

She never asks to sleep over again.

I am 10 years old

I fall asleep on a couch at the Goodwill.

A loud plop and metal clattering startle me awake.

It is a girl dropping off boxes of Princess themed bedroom decorations for donation.

I look at her and recognize the familiar eyes and freeze.

She stares back at me and drills shame into my skull

She leaves without uttering a word, but her disgusted eyes paint a whole novel of her thoughts.

I retreat to my parents who are standing by the door, with a smile too big to fit their jaded eyes.

As I grew older and older.

I came to realize that

While my eyes were closed

My mother's strained to keep hers open as if she were holding an entrance to a collapsing cave

While my mind was at rest

My father's raced infinite marathons in between earning good grades for this week's quiz and earning enough money for this week's dinner

Till now, I cannot comprehend how they were able to keep their systems running with broken circuits

But I do know that the electricity that runs through their blood is a vision of a greater future.

This power and drive to push beyond limits unknown, to venture to foreign lands owning nothing but a heavy accent, love, and a vision for more.

A goal to rise up as the roses from the cracked concrete

An aspiration to provide a life for me that they never had

To explore the land of opportunity, although beginning with little opportunity in the first place.

This energy buzzes and hums inside my mother's eyes and my father's mind.

Constantly thinking about me, about them, and about us.

Gears restlessly whirring and pounding through late nights and early mornings, an unstoppable source pumping from their very hearts.

Zapping their brains every time tears fell, arguments broke, or will-power evaporated

To remind them of their vision, and their potential to be taller and higher from where they started.

It took me a while to understand this,

but now

I am 18

It is 6:30.

I rise out my own bed and walk the floors of a house built upon heavy accents, love, and a vision for more.

I pass by the sound of my parents sleeping peacefully behind their bedroom door.

I grab boxes of worn out school clothes, slightly yellowed at the collars, and withered at the end of the skirts.

I drive up to the Goodwill donation center and see a young boy in hand-me-down uniform resting upon an ancient leather ottoman blanketed in dust.

His mother is wearing both a smile too big to fit into her jaded eyes

I smile back at the boy and his mother and say hello.

I am 18

I drive back home and pass the same little boy and his mother waiting for the Metro Bus. His mother is holding two Goodwill Bags, and he is holding on to her hand tightly with sleepy eyes.

I roll down the window and wave,

They remember me and wave back, but the bus comes and disrupts our short greetings

I am 18

I learn that that little boy is my younger brother's friend.

He comes over to play one day and is obviously fascinated by video games and Lego bricks.

My younger brother asks him if he too can come over to his home one of these days,

The little boy hesitates to answer, so I step in and offer snacks. He looks relieved, hoping that my younger brother will forget.

I am 18

And I live and breathe to see the end of the days where every child can proudly have their other friends come over to play

I yearn for the day where every immigrant family can be just as lucky as mines

I awake and am humbled to hear the sounds of my parents' well-deserved rest

I greet days with a buzzing "hello" coming from the thudding energy in my chest

I shoot out of my bed to the sweet sound of my alarm

I arise looking forward to gently roll my brother out of his racecar themed bedroom

They say I inherited my mother's eyes and my father's smile,

but I like to say that I inherited their hearts.

Their loud, humming, powerful, hearts

Repairing broken circuits, burning boundary lines, and projecting the brightness of the world ahead.

This energy buzzes and hums inside my blood.

Constantly thinking about them, about us.

Gears restlessly whirring and pounding through late nights of studying, to early mornings of classes, an unstoppable source beating from my very chest

Zapping my brain every time tears fell, arguments broke, or will-power evaporated

To remind me of their vision, my vision, and the true fact that one can have the potential to be taller and higher from where they started before.

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