Meeting new friends and exploring new places can be so exhilarating, but it’s important to be aware of what could happen on your first Saturday night of freedom, especially if there will be drinking. We know that you’re smart, but sometimes bad decisions happen in the spur of the moment. Here are four things to keep in mind while rolling up to your first college party that will help keep you safe:
1. Remember that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal for a reason.
There are very good reasons for this law. Drinking alcohol impairs the functions of our brains like the cerebral cortex or frontal lobes, where most of our planning and ability to function happens. As teens and young adults, our brains aren’t fully developed, and consuming alcoholic beverages can really mess with our progress in these areas.
2. Remember to never, ever get in the car with someone who has been drinking (or drive when you have been).
Although this might seem obvious, your judgment can be impaired if all of your new friends are encouraging you to hop on in. If you’re a passenger in a car of someone who has been drinking, how much do you trust their driving skills? And if you’re driving, remember to always play it safe, even when you think you’re safe to drive. By driving after drinking, you are not just endangering your own life!
Also, did you know that if you’re stopped in a car with underage people who have been drinking, you could jeopardize good standing with your school and the law?
The good news is that most schools have safe ride services you can call if you’re ever in a situation during which you feel uncomfortable. So, remember to always speak up and know that there is always an alternative method to get home safe!
3. Keep your eyes on your cup at all times.
It might seem like everyone you meet on your first night is your new best friend, but some of those people might not have the best intentions. Date rape drugs like roofies are real, and terrible people do use them – sometimes even when they don’t plan on making a move on you. It’s a scary thought, but it’s so important to know exactly what’s going into your body for your health and safety, especially in places you’re not totally familiar with yet and people you don’t know that well.
Even when you go to the bathroom, take your drink with you. If you always have your cup in hand, you’re taking an important precaution against people slipping unwanted substances into your drink.
4. Don’t drink the punch!
The truth is that you never know what goes in punch. There isn’t just a risk of other substances being thrown in (to the host’s knowledge or otherwise), but the combination of so many different alcohols and sugary juices is a recipe for disaster. Drinking the punch could not only have you way too drunk way too fast, it also has the potential to make you sick to your stomach and to leave you with a horrible hangover in the morning!
We at Girlmentum always want you to make the best (and legal) choices for yourself. That being said, we think it is so important that if you ever find yourself in a situation where underage drinking is involved, you know exactly how to handle it and make the smartest decisions.