As a college blogger, I read a lot of college blogs. There are a lot of posts on things like studying, eating healthy, and dorm decor, but no talk of one of the biggest parts of the college experience: partying. If you’re like me, you didn’t have much experience with parties and drinking in high school, so entering the college party-culture was a little jarring. In this post, I’m going to tell it like it is. Welcome to the College Girl’s Guide to Partying and Going Out!
I’m 22 now, and since leaving college I don’t go out very much. I didn’t really go to a party school, and my beachside college had a more laid back vibe than many of the big state schools nearby. That being said, I did go to a lot of off-campus parties and my town had a big bar scene. This college girls guide to partying will share everything I wish I knew before I started college when it comes to drinking, going out, and staying safe.
Please note I am not encouraging or condoning underage or excessive drinking. Please be responsible and remember your safety is important overall.
I pride myself on being a very responsible drinker. At least, I am now. I never drank in high school or even during my trip around the world during my gap year. I started experimenting with drinking in my first semester of college, and it was pretty rocky at first. I didn’t really understand my bodies limits, and now I am much more careful and aware.
Learn Your Limits
Obviously, learning your drinking limits is easier said than done. Here are some facts about drinking to keep in mind when you’re at a party.
- Girls feel the effects of alcohol faster than guys!
- Generally, one drink per hour with water in between is a safe bet.
- Always eat before going out. Don’t drink on an empty stomach!
- Stick to one type of alcohol, if possible, to avoid getting sick.
Skip the Pregame
In college, it’s all about the pre-game. If you’re new to drinking, pregaming is when you drink at home before you go to the bar or to the party. This is common in college because drinking at bars can be expensive, and everyone wants a feel-good buzz before they actually get to the party, right?
In my experience, pregames tend to get out of control. Much of the time we wouldn’t even end up going out because most of us would be too drunk and that’s that. I usually opt out of pre-gaming now since I’d rather enjoy a couple drinks slowly at the bar and stay well within my limits than to feel too drunk before even leaving the house!
If you are pregaming, try to keep it to only a few spread out drinks. Avoid taking shots as this is a good way to get too drunk too fast and to get sick. If you or one of your friends is too drunk during the pregame, definitely consider staying in to avoid getting into a bad situation at a bar or party.
Watch Your Drink
It sucks that rape culture is such a thing nowadays that you need to keep your drink within your sights at all time. Whether you’re at a party or at the bar, always keep an eye on your drink and your friends drink. If you set your drink down and lose track of it, get a new one.
If you have to go to the bathroom, bring your drink with you or give it to a trusted friend! It’s safer to ask a girl waiting in line for the bathroom to hold your drink for you than to leave it somewhere in the open. Never accept a drink from a stranger unless you watched him/her make it.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Drink
When I was on Semester at Sea, I chose not to drink at all. I chose this for a number of reasons, but ultimately I wanted to make a point that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time. While I was comfortable with my decision, I found a lot of fellow students would annoy me with questions that seemed to stem from their our insecurity. Here are some tips for surviving a college party when you choose not to drink:
- Hold the same cup. A red cup at a college party can go a long way when it comes to fending off unnecessary questions. Just fill it with a mixer like Coke, Sprite, or juice.
- Say you’re the designated driver or that you have a big exam the next day.
- Stay persistent. There will always be that one guy (or girl) who feels the need to ask constantly you why you don’t drink. Just stick to your guns and remember you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Types of Parties
I have never been to a frat party, let me get that out of the way right now. My college was so small we didn’t have any frats or sororities which was a major contributing factor in why I chose that school in the first place. Regardless, I’ve learned a bit from friends at bigger schools who have experienced the wonders of frat parties. Here are some nitty gritty tips.
- Frats mainly throw these parties to meet girls, so keep that in mind and have your guard up.
- Don’t wear a lanyard or do anything else to identify yourself as a freshman or frat party novice.
- Definitely bring one or two friends along and keep them close.
I don’t know what it is about parties in college, but they always have a theme?! Themed parties can also be frat parties, but for the sake of this post, I’m separating them. Themed parties can be fun, but try to remember that it’s sometimes best to dress for comfort especially when you know you’ll do a lot of walking. DIY togas are cute on Instagram, but sorta impractical in real life, ya know?
Dress for the theme if you want, but keep it casual and versatile if you plan to switch parties throughout the night. Remember that wearing something outrageous might make you a target for cops looking to bust partygoers, so dress reasonably.
Technically, bar hopping isn’t a party, but this is the organization I decided on and I’m sticking with it. At least in my town, lots of kids bar hopped throughout downtown until the late hours of the evening. This is really fun, but it’s important to keep in mind that you might need to skip drinks at some bars if you’re not looking to throw up on the street. Also, wear sensible shoes! Walking between bars is no fun in high heels, let me tell you.
If you’re in college, you’re going to see a lot of fake IDs. My two cents on this subject is to just avoid it all together. If you want to drink, there are a lot of safer ways to do it that don’t involve getting a fake ID. It can be a serious hassle if you get caught and you don’t need that in your life.
Final Words on Partying in College
Party culture is alive and well in American colleges, and it’s hard to avoid nowadays. Movies and TV shows paint college like one giant frat party, but it definitely doesn’t have to be if that doesn’t sound like a good time to you. Trust me, I have a lot of introverted moments where standing in a crowded room surrounded by guys with Natty Ice sounds like a special kind of torture. If you’re not into it, don’t feel pressured by others who think college is all about drinking and going out.
There are a lot of great ways to enjoy college without partying, but if you find yourself looking to join the crowd, remember to be safe! Know your limits and always use the buddy system. If you’re new to drinking, take it slow. Don’t mix drinks and don’t let your friend go home with the creepy guy lurking around. If you keep your wits about you, partying in college can be a great way to meet new people and have new experiences!
Whats your take on the party scene in college? Let me know in the comments!