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."
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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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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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A Letter To the Lady Who "took" my dog

Everyone knows how it feels to lose a pet in one way or another.

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The most I remember feeling is angry. I was confused, upset, but most of all just furious. I was hurt by my parents, frustrated with my friend's lack of help—though there was considerable attempt--, and saddened by the fact that I was likely to lose my year-old Australian Shepherd, Terra Blu.

My family had gotten Terra almost a year after our previous Aussie, Kaiya, died at the age of four from an infectious disease the veterinarians were unable to catch swiftly enough. Kaiya's sudden death shook me terribly. I'd begged for a dog since I had been little, and it seemed cruel to have her removed from my world so painfully and randomly. I did what most typically do after a family member dies; cry, mope, and swear to never want another like her. My resolve to never own another dog faded after two weeks in the house without her.

As most long-term pet owners know, the house takes on a different mood when a fuzzy companion leaves the world. The windows look plain without wet nose splotches staining them, the dog bed next to the door is only a painful reminder, and the red-rimmed eyes and despondency of others don't improve relations. After so much raw emotion followed by lack of feeling at all by the entire household, I was convinced that another dog would be the cure to our predicament—only I wanted Kaiya, but I figured another would have to do.

Flash forward to slightly less than a year later; it would be early spring. I hear the door open and look to see my father walking in with a dog bed. Kaiya's bed I'd assumed; I would realize later it was a new dog bed. I immediately stood and said in an accusing tone, "What do you think you are doing with that?"

He only held out one hand and said, "Don't scream." That cued my mother to walk in behind him holding an eight-week-old Aussie she called KyLor Blu. I didn't scream. Instead I covered my eyes, beginning to cry, and stumbled into the living room, hiding from a baby ball of fur. I didn't want to see her, touch her, or be near her for about two minutes. Then I was all over her. I knew instantly that she would never be like Kaiya, but she could become a part of our family.

The year spent with the new puppy had a lot of changes. The first being my insistence on changing the name to Terra Blu, because, no we cannot call KyLor Ky like we called Kaiya Kai. Having a puppy was fun but she did all the things puppies do, from eating my favorite pair of heels to peeing on my lap. Regardless, even after destroying yet another bra of mine, she managed to work her way into my and my family's hearts and continued to do so even after she ate the last aglet off of our shoes.

She was smart. She didn't have as strong as a willingness to please as Kaiya did—I could never stop creating comparisons--, but she wanted to learn when it suited her. I'd built her an obstacle course from farm parts lying around, she could catch the frisbee in air, and also managed to miraculously catch a few birds from on the ground. But a year goes fast when it's senior year of high school and soon I was off to college, leaving my dog behind.

At college, changes were occurring at home that I was left out of. From my cat dying, the rabbit being put down, and the chickens being sold all at the looming prospect of the divorce of my parents. Spoiler alert, they didn't divorce. But in that time, they did give away my dog.

I was the one who suggested that we find another home for Terra. She was obviously stressed when I'd been home for Christmas break. I could see her discomfort as she felt the dissatisfaction between my parent's relationship. Of course, I suggested it planning to give her to one of my friends. I had multiple who had shown interest in such a sweet dog (one that was finally out of the worst of the puppy stage). In the end, none of the homes worked out. But it was alright, because apparently my family had found a good home and I would get to spend one last week with her over spring break, right?

What actually happened was, due to an untimely death and a series of unfortunate events, Terra was rehomed early and I was given the choice to asked for her back for a week or let her stay in her new home, as she was already well adjusted. It's difficult to do what's best when it hurts, but I asked for her to stay with her new home, a kind couple in their 50's. I did end up being a little selfish and asked to visit her.

This brings me to the real point of this letter. Thank you.

To the kind couple who let me come see their property and my, now your, dog. Terra has been blessed with owners who have more time for her and who gladly walk her once, sometimes twice, a day. She's been blessed with a less stressful household and owners that have time, and make time, for her. I know there has been a hole in your heart left by a previous pawprint and I'm happy she can do for you what she did for me.

Thank you for sending me a picture when I ask, for letting me join you on your walks when I am able, and for sharing her time with me. It's not easy. I'm sorry I cry when I see her bounding towards me, wagging her whole butt to make up for her lack of tail and I'm sorry she lingers at my car door, waiting to be let in when I leave.

But I also see how she's not sad or scared from the fighting. I see how she only cares about figuring out how to be friends with the geese sitting at your pond. And I see how she doesn't say goodbye after our walks, instead running to find your husband to say hello. So, one last time, thank you for doing what my family could not.

Cover Image Credit:

Dawn Lunde Pearson

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