When to Call Quits on the College Party Scene

Ah college. It is an exciting, yet intimidating journey that the majority of young adults of today's generation decide to embark on. Degrees, a promise of better jobs, debt that will haunt you for the remainder of your twenties (and maybe beyond), and friends and memories that you hope to last a lifetime.

In my freshman year, I wouldn't have thought my senior year self would be writing articles on advice towards those who enjoy the party scene maybe just a little too much. For my entire first year of university, and the majority of my second, I wasn't acquainted, nor really interested, in the infamous party reputation my university held. Freshman year I wasn't legal drinking age, and for my sophomore year I did enjoy having a few drinks with friends, but in comparison to my junior year, I was harmlessly tame.

Junior year I slid downhill, and by the time I hit the bottom and began to emerge from my alcohol-induced haze, I realized it was too late. My marks suffered, I failed half of my classes – and in the spring I received a notification that shattered my plans for the near future: I had been suspended for one year due to my academic performance.

College by all means is a place for experimentation and, as they say, may be the greatest years of your life. Make sure that they are. You want to be able to actually remember the good times with your friends, not the amount of times you were wrapped around the toilet or waking up to a phone full of responses to your nearly unintelligible – and embarrassing – drunk texts.

1. Drink When You're Happy

Not sad. Not stressed. Not angry. It may be tempting, and you may think it will help, but trust me, it only makes things worse. Remember, alcohol enhances the emotions that you are feeling, not alters them into something better. So if you're sad and you have a few drinks, you'll be that bawling mess in the bathroom that, despite what drunk you may think, no one wants to deal with.

Drinking also makes you think less rationally, and if you're upset, you can end up doing something that you will seriously regret in the morning. Sober you will see easily that you shouldn't have called and shot off to your ex – but guess what? Drunk you did, and now you have to deal with it. Apologizing for what you did drunk is not fun, in fact it is down right humiliating. Plus you run the risk of people losing respect for you.

Different liquors have a funny way of affecting people in different ways. If you know when you drink tequila, you're prone to dancing on tables with no shirt on, don't drink it. For me, my poison is rum. It brings out an angry bitterness that ultimately, I can't control and it's not fun for anyone around me. Don't think that you'll have a “good night” with your tabletop dancing tequila. You won't. Opt for that vodka-cran, instead.

2. Beer Before Liquor, Never Been Sicker? No. You Drank Too Much.

There are all these sayings and pieces of advice people give you to avoid ending off your night feeling like garbage and getting familiar with the bathroom stall, but ultimately, the one and only piece of advice that is worth listening to is: pace yourself.

Depending on your size and alcohol tolerance, it takes on average 15-20 minutes for a drink to take its full affect on your system. So have a beer, draw it out, make it last, enjoy it. Sip at your martini, then wait a bit to see if you want the next one. Sure there is no harm in having a shot or two, but pounding back one drink after another, whether they are different kinds of alcohol or not, isn't going to leave you feeling anything but horrible.

If you do want to keep drinking, it never hurts to have a glass of water in-between. It hydrates you and makes you feel better – and at most bars, it's free. It's better to have a glass of water even if you think you don't need it than wishing that you had two drinks down the road and you're having trouble standing.

It's popular nowadays to “drink to get drunk”. It's not a healthy mentality. I was all for it. More often than not, that's what I'd say – and I'd have a hangover to greet me in the morning.

3. Drink With Someone You Trust

You need a wingman (or woman), and they need you. If you're up for a night out, be sure you are going with at least one good friend that's got your back, and you have theirs. Having your back can mean anything from being that person you walk to get drunk-food with, the one who ushers you away from that one creep that won't stop grinding on you, paying for your cover when you can't find that twenty you had in your bra, taking your phone when you're going to text so-and-so, and ultimately, someone to make sure you get home safe.

This advice is more to girls, but guys take heed too – don't go out drinking alone.

4. Drunk Hookups? Be Careful

The hookup culture is huge nowadays, especially in college. If you are going to hookup with that hottie that you've been eyeing in your morning class – it's probably best to do it sober. Why? See above where I mentioned how alcohol affects your ability to think rationally... irrational thinking could be a number of things: cheating (either you have a partner or your hookup does, but oh, you're drunk, it's a good idea!), unprotected sex (babies or STDs anyone?) or on a darker note: rape. The “Oh, but they were drunk” rationale is chillingly more common than you realize.

Remember, don't let drunk you do things that sober you will regret in the morning, or possibly for the rest of your life.

Drinking is a part of college life, and beyond. It can be fun. But it's not fun if it starts to affect your life negatively. For me, I lost respect of my professors and gained a reputation that was less than spectacular. I had my friends and family start worrying about me, and I lost out on time and money that has set me back academically.

You don't have to wait to make a terrible mistake to want to change the way you drink. Sure you can learn from your mistakes, but some may haunt you longer than a morning. Look out for yourself and look out for your friends. Cheers.

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