For many college students, partying and having a good time is seen as part of the experience. While this can certainly be true, there are a variety of different sobering statistics you should keep in mind:
- Roughly 1,825 students die each year in unintended alcohol-related accidents, with almost another 600,000 being seriously injured.
- 400,000 students report having unprotected sex while under the influence.
- 97,000 students report being a victim of alcohol-induced sexual assault or rape.
These statistics don’t necessarily mean you need to abandon the idea of college parties forever. However, the combination of “binge drinking” and lowered inhibitions puts your safety and the safety of others at risk.
Socializing in college is arguably just as important as attending classes: many people find lifelong friends in college and get a better idea who they want to be as they enter adulthood. However, college is also a pivotal time to keep your safety in mind. For many people, college is the first time away from the support system of their families, so inhibitions may go out the window because of their newfound “freedom.”
With the spring semester underway, it’s essential to make sure you have the right mindset in regards to drinking to ensure you enjoy yourself without causing any undue risk. Here are six things you should keep in mind about college parties:
Watch Who Makes Your Drinks
Drugs like roofies, or even drinks with a deceptive amount of alcohol content, can be a significant hazard for people at college parties, especially women attending alone. Be sure to keep an eye on your drinks as they are being made to make sure they aren’t being tampered with and avoid any drinks that you didn’t pour yourself.
Rotate Water Between Drinks
Alcohol serves as a diuretic, which means you can get dehydrated even if you’re drinking. Rotating drinks of water between alcoholic beverages is a good way to help keep you safe, and as a bonus, it can reduce the severity of hangovers.
Have A Plan In Place To Get Home
Drunk driving is a major hazard across the country, but especially in college towns. Make sure that you have a designated driver in place or are prepared to use taxis/a ride service to get home. Avoid accepting rides from people you don’t know, as you can’t be sure of their intentions.
Have Protection If You Plan To Have Sex
Hookups are a common part of a lot of college parties, but it’s essential to protect yourself. If there’s even a chance that you may engage in sexual activity at a party, make sure that you have some form of protection with you.
Know Your Limits
One of the most destructive sides of college-age-drinking, in particular, is the idea of binge-drinking to get drunk as possible. This not only leads to a higher risk of reckless behavior but potential alcohol poisoning. Be sure to have an idea beforehand of how much you plan on drinking and make sure you don’t go over that limit. Another good idea is trying to nurse a single drink, rather than rapidly consuming multiple beverages.
Try To Avoid Partying Alone, If Possible
Even if you are vigilant about your drink, there is a chance you might be momentarily distracted and allow an opportunity for tampering. If you have a friend by your side, it will be harder for someone to slip something in your drink without being noticed.
Along with this, some people may think they have an idea of their alcohol tolerance, only find themselves debilitated by their alcohol intake. A friend is also a crucial aid in this scenario. If you misjudge how much alcohol you can handle at a party, a trusted friend can take you home or contact help.
College is the gateway to the rest of your life. Make sure you are heading down the right path by being mindful of your drinking and partying habits and getting tested regularly for STDs and HIV. Different diseases have different periods of incubation, and all may not show symptoms right away. Even if you try to do your best to follow safe practices, there is always that potential risk of catching common STIs. This makes testing important so that you can develop a treatment plan as quickly as possible with minimal impact on your health and wellbeing.