Partying at college is often seen as a rite of passage, with many people assuming that you can’t have any fun at all if you aren’t into partying. While you can have lots of fun at college if partying isn’t your style, it’s also totally fine to admit that you like partying with your friends on weekends to celebrate surviving another week of classes. What’s important to note here is that you get to make your own decisions now: whether partying is or isn’t for you, whether you will drink alcohol or whether you’d rather steer clear, and how partying stacks up against your own values.

The most important key here is that you need to make these decisions before you’re pressured into going out. Knowing what you want to do ahead of time takes the stress off of you in the moment, and helps you make wise decisions instead of decisions based on alcohol or peer pressure. Sit down with yourself and take a good hard look at what you plan to do. The obvious question is whether you will or won’t drink alcohol. Try to decide ahead of time how many drinks you’ll have, because when you reach that level at the party you’ll be more likely to stop yourself. It’s very easy in the moment to say “Well, I’ll just have one more.”

Second, if you plan to go with friends, make sure you know what the plan is before people start drinking. Know who your designated driver is going to be, and make sure you know whether or not you are all planning to leave together. The last thing you want is to be running around at 3 AM looking for one of your friends. With that in mind, make sure you hold onto your phone, keys, and license. If you do happen to lose your license, do not panic! Wait until the next day and call the bar or the party host. Often people drop their licenses, and during clean-up they are piled up in a stack for the people who will call to collect them. If you’re at a bar and you paid with a credit card, make sure you close your tab before you leave. That way you will get your card back and know how much money you spent.

Regardless of what you choose, be aware of how the choices you make can affect your future. Remember the lesson about “The Internet is Forever,” and be very careful about posting pictures that show you being drunk or behaving in a way you wouldn’t want a future employer to see. While partying can certainly be a lot of fun, you do not want to regret it in the morning.

The week of costumes, candy, and “tricks” is upon us.  Halloween is the second biggest social event (after Homecoming) of the Fall semester. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to showcase your creative costume, engage in alcohol/drugs, and overall make bad decisions.  People like to use Halloween as their scapegoat for bad decision making.  We want you to be prepared, equipped with the right information, and safely enjoy your Halloween experience while in college.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Costume Choice: Be creative in your choice.  You want something that will be fun, cheap, and not offensive.  Try visiting your closet to see what you can pull together to create the look you want to achieve. Then explore thrift shops for cheap finds.  Lastly, recruit the talents of your friends; there may be make-up artist and stylist among other talents.  When picking your costume try to avoid stereotypes, mocking other cultures, and poking at touchy subjects. Group costumes are fun and allow you the opportunity to bond with others.
  2.  Alcohol/Drugs: Be careful with the type of parties you choose to attend.  Some will be heavily supplied with alcohol and drug activity.  Make the decision on who will serve as a designated driver and party in pairs.  While at the party you should always keep an eye on your partner and know where they are and what they are doing at all times.  Be sure to watch beverages and never leave them unattended, parties are the perfect time to slip something into your unsuspecting drink.  Try to avoid binge drinking games such as beer pong and power hour.  These games are dangerous in nature as they require a person to consume large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. If you think something is wrong err on the safe side and assume something is wrong.  If your partner has been gone for a while, assume they need your help and go find them.  If someone needs medical attention, do not assume they will be okay in the morning, take them to a professional right away to make the determination.  If you do not feel comfortable with what is happening at a party, trust your gut and leave. Alcohol and Drugs do not constitute having a good time.  Find ways to have fun that do not require you to alter your frame of mind.
  3. Bad Decisions: The nature of Halloween allows people to dress-up and live the night as someone else.  Taking on an alter ego and having the ability to escape your day-to-day life for one night can be an exhilarating idea.  Keep in mind what you do in that one night can have to potential to affect the rest of your life. Disorderly conduct, pranks, and unprotected sex can all lead to unfavorable consequences.  A night of fun can wind up being a night in jail, a suspension (or expulsion) from school, a STD or unplanned pregnancy.

Make the most of Halloween, it is a fun time and there are a variety of things you can do to celebrate.  Haunted Houses, community service projects for neighborhood kids, a movie night with friends, pumpkin carving and fun treats are all safe and fun ways to celebrate Halloween.  Whatever you choose to do to celebrate, make sure you make wise decisions and enjoy what the night has to offer.  The iRAs are here to answer any questions you may have about Halloween festivities.

Alcohol in college- it is prevalent theme in about 98% of any college movie. Epic parties every weekend, tons of beer and alcohol, shots, and hangovers. While movies tend to sometimes over-exaggerate what college is like, alcohol in college is a real issue that, chances are, you will encounter at some point in your college career, if you haven’t already.

 

When it comes to being safe with alcohol in college, there are some steadfast rules that do not need too much elaboration. Just follow the rules!

 

  • If Your Dorms Don’t Allow Alcohol in the Dorms, Don’t Bring Alcohol in the Dorms! It isn’t worth getting kicked out of the dorms just to have a case of beer in your room.
  • Don’t Ever Drink & Drive! Also, don’t get into a car with a drunk driver ever, under any circumstances. It isn’t worth gambling your life or anyone else’s. Speaking from personal experience, it isn’t an enjoyable experience having a friend killed due to a drunk driver.
  • Use “Safe Ride” Most colleges realize that parties and drinking are going to happen regardless of their rules and prevention. So, many campuses offer a “Safe Ride” program where they offer a FREE taxi service to and from the dorms to wherever you are in town. All you have to do is save the number in your phone. Use it!
  • If you are over 21, be careful about buying alcohol for anyone underage.

Now while you are completely free to experiment while in college, definitely be smart about your choices when it comes to drinking. First, make sure to party off-campus. Parties in the dorms usually are highly distracting to neighbors, probably against your dorms rules, and are shut down and can land you in some trouble quickly. Always make sure to have a designated driver or use the Safe Ride program as noted above.

 

Second, know your limit and maintain control of yourself. This may be hard to discover if you are a first time drinker, but you will feel a change in your body, way of thinking, and personality. If you feel yourself to begin to act outrageous, and do or say things that you regret, then it is probably a good time to put the solo cup down. It is always best to have friends around who can look after you as well.

 

If you find yourself struggling to overcome a growing tendency of drinking, you may be growing an addiction to alcohol. Matters such as these are serious, and need to be addressed quickly, regardless if it is with yourself, your roommate, or a friend. I don’t know of any college campus that does not have some sort of place where you can seek help with this type of issue and work on getting you back on the right track. If you feel you need it, never hesitate to seek the help you need. Drinking is never worth destroying your college career, or your life.