Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as medical advice. I’m not a doctor or mental health specialist, just a fourth year sharing some of my own experiences and learnings. If you are sober or working on sobriety this article may not be for you, and that’s totally OK: we’ve got plenty of other articles you can check out!
University isn’t just about academics, it’s about learning how to take care of yourself, how to network and manage your time. It’s also about socializing, drinking, and sex (but they won’t tell you that at orientation.) Not every all-nighter will be with your books, and today I’m here to give you some tips (and things I really wish I had known) about partying.
College parties are sadly not like the movies, especially not in Canada. Because a lot of university films are based in the USA, we predominantly see frat parties. Since the Greek system isn’t as large in Canada, you won’t see crazy parties like you do on TV. However, in Canada, we’re lucky enough to have a drinking age of 19 (18 if you’re in Quebec) so we have a lot more opportunities to enjoy nightlife than our neighbours down south! If you study in an urban environment, the nightlife in your city will keep you sufficiently occupied. Student groups will plan bar crawls, club and bar nights, and other social events if you’re not sure where to start with your night out, but rest assured, after six months in the city you’ll learn the ins and outs of the club scene. If you’re in a more remote college town, your peers and student organization groups will be in charge of events. Here, you’ll find more local bar nights and house parties than students who live in the city. There will be a few spots in town for you to go to, and keep in mind that pretty much everyone there will also be a student! That will make it a lot easier to meet people.
When I first started university, I would go out every weekend, and sometimes even weekdays. Everyone around me was binge-drinking, skipping their classes and partying until the sun came up. To be totally transparent here, it was awesome! I had a really great first semester! I made a ton of friends, hooked up with lots of cute people and managed to become a beer-chugging legend. I also spent way too much money, didn’t get the best grades, and pretty much destroyed my liver before the age of 20. Now that I’m super old and experienced 😜 (22, fourth year of university) I thought I’d compile my top 10 rules for a great partying experience in college for anyone looking to improve their long game.
Rule 1: Drink water
I know everyone says this, but no one seems to listen. Drink water. You’ll feel better in the morning and your body will thank you.
Rule 2: Know your limits
You may not know your limits as you enter college, but trust me, you’ll find them out quickly. I’ve found that counting the max number of drinks you can have before it’s “too much” doesn’t work well because of the varying alcohol content of different drinks. Instead, try to monitor how you feel after two drinks and check in with yourself regularly to pace yourself from there. Eventually you’ll learn what you can responsibly handle in a night out, but that can always change based on variables so the practice of checking yourself will serve you well.
Rule 3: Don’t mix drugs and alcohol
This is a recipe for disaster, and it can end badly. You might not overdose, but you can definitely get sick and there are other risks to consider. It’s not worth putting your life on the line.
Rule 4: Always hold on to your drinks
Safety first. Enough said.
Rule 5: Plan how you’re getting back BEFORE you go out
I seriously can’t count how many times I’ve stood outside a random party arguing with my friends about how we would get back. Usually, an Uber or a taxi is your best bet, and make sure everyone in your group can legally fit in the car!
Rule 6: Leave no one behind
Sometimes people get too messed up, that happens. They’re going to feel bad about it in the morning, but as the less-drunk friend(s), it’s your responsibility to make sure your friend gets home safely. When I was about 19, my friends and I wanted to go clubbing. At the pre-event, this guy (we’ll call him Mike) decided to drink an entire bottle of tequila. By the time we got to the club, Mike was a mess, but we figured he would be fine. While we were waiting in line Mike decided to go pee in an alley. He never joined us at the club. The next day, he texted us from the hospital, saying he had faceplanted in his own puke and a stranger had taken him to the ER. Luckily, Mike was thankfully ultimately okay, but had it not been for the kindness of that stranger, things could have ended very very badly. That night I learned why it’s SO important to use the buddy system when you’re out drinking and make sure that no one goes off on their own.
Rule 7: Bring as little out with you as possible
When you’re drunk and dancing all night, it’s really easy to lose important things like your ID, your keys, or your phone. You can minimize the risk (and the stress) of losing your valuables by bringing the bare minimum and keeping those items on your person at all times.
Rule 8: Pre-drink, but reasonably
A good pre-game is essential to a good party. It’s a great way to get everyone in your group on the same page, sets the mood for the whole night, and saves you money as you’re going out! The key to a good pre is to drink moderately. No one wants to be wasted by 9 and asleep by 11. My rule of thumb for a pregame is 3 drinks max, but everyone is different.
Rule 9: Leave the drama at home
Literally nothing kills an evening like someone drunk crying about their ex. Go out with good vibes. If you’re out and suddenly not doing well emotionally, that’s OK and it’s probably better to call it and head home to recoup.
And lastly, rule 10: Use protection & communicate
When you’re drunk and the lights are dim, anyone can be a 10. There’s something exciting about going out and flirting with a stranger all night, and if you’re both on board, there’s nothing wrong with a casual hook-up. Just make sure to use protection, share your location with a friend and communicate clearly what you’re up for and what you aren’t. Remember that consent is ongoing and you can say no at any time, as can your partner(s).
These ten rules will mitigate pretty much any problem you could run in to on a night out and ensure you and your friends have a great time. If you’re looking for some other ways to have a great time, check out my Tinder Tips for surefire ways to land a date!