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The Do's and Don'ts of College Partying

If you find yourself at a college party, following these do's and don'ts can help you enjoy yourself and keep you safe.

It’s no secret: college kids party. Not everyone does of course, and no one is legally allowed to drink until they are 21. But if you do find yourself at a party—on campus, at a friend’s house, at a frat, on spring break, wherever—following these do’s and don'ts will help keep you safe and sound.

Do stick with the pack

You’ve heard of “Leave no man behind.” Well, it doesn’t just apply to the military. It’s important to look out for one another when you’re going out with friends too. Start the night off as a group, whether you’re walking, taking a cab, or riding with a DD so you all roll in together. When you’re at the party, you don’t have to hold each other’s hands, but you should keep an eye on everyone in your group. Check in with each other throughout the night, and if you want to leave, never leave alone. The buddy system can really help prevent unfortunate situations that could happen if you wander off without anyone knowing.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach

A wise man once said, “If you’re gonna drink, you’ve gotta eat.” If you choose to drink, having something solid in your stomach will slow down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream. If you skip dinner and then drink, you’ll feel the effects of the alcohol much faster, which is not good news for your liver, digestive system, or personality. Eat before you go out, don’t be afraid to snack at a party, and be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Do know your limits

You don’t want to be “that person” at a party. Be aware of your personal limits, take it slow, and be observant of your body and what’s happening around you. Enjoy other aspects of the party: meeting new people, catching up with friends, eating, dancing, etc. And don’t feel pressured to drink more than you intended to—or to drink at all! You know what makes you feel comfortable, so don’t let anyone question those choices.

Don’t leave your drink unattended

It’s easy to set down your cup real quick when you’re at a crowded party. But creeps have been known to mess with unattended drinks, even if you are away for just a second. Hold on to your beverage at all times, and don’t accept a drink from anyone unless you see what he or she is pouring. This is cliché, but it holds true: better safe than sorry!

Do understand what “consent” means

You’ve been flirting with someone all night, and now you’re alone with them. You both need to give consent before anything sexual happens. If he or she is passing out on the bed and isn’t coherent, that means no. If you agree but then change your mind a few minutes later, your partner needs to stop what they’re doing, because that also means no. No means no, and not answering doesn’t mean yes—only “yes” means yes.

Don’t drink and drive

I repeat: don’t drink and drive! It’s dangerous, it’s illegal, and unfortunately it happens way too often. Find a designated driver, order an Uber, hide your keys on yourself, see if your school has a pickup or shuttle service for getting students home safely at night. Just don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Ever. (But what if—NO. Never.) The consequences are not worth it.

Don’t drink and walk either

Not so fun fact: statistically, mile for mile, you are more likely to get hurt walking drunk than driving drunk. Obviously, drinking and driving can have catastrophic consequences, especially when it comes to injuring others. So, again, don't do it. But don't make the mistake of thinking it's totally fine to walk/stumble home from that party across town either. If you don't have a designated driver, take a cab, Uber, Lyft, etc. A lot of colleges will pay for your ride, or they might be able to send a shuttle. Just call the check-in desk at your dorm or the campus safety office.

Do have fun

That is the point of going to a party, right? These do’s and don’ts are serious, but they aren’t meant to bring you down or make you want to stay locked up at home like a hermit. College can be some of the best years of your life, so just be smart, stay safe, and enjoy yourself!

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