Imagine it’s finally the weekend after a stressful week of college lectures, assignments, extracurricular activities, and working at a part-time job. You feel drained and ready to relax when your friends. You’re reading the group chats talking about different campus parties going on this weekend and your friends decide to go to the most fun sounding one. So, you get up, pull yourself together, pick an awesome outfit, and prepare for the fun!
Having fun on the weekends (and some cases on weekdays) is amazing and a create way to fill your social cup! However, it is very important that you and everyone you are with does so safely. Lucky for you, we have created a few easy tips for you to follow the next time you and your friends decide to go to a bar/party.
Go out with a trusted group of friends
Depending on your year in school, you may or may not have known your friends for a long time. If you haven’t known them long, take a moment to do a “self-check”, ask yourself if these are people you want to be around or if they just make you feel fun and cool. When going to a party or bar off-campus, it’s important to be with people you know will have your back and will take care of you if anything happens. When going off campus, always make sure you have safe, sober transportation back to campus. Decide who in the group isn’t going to drink and be the designated driver or agree that you’ll all take the same ride share back, remember strength in numbers!
Know your limits
Everyone wants to have a good time when they go out, so don’t be the friend that goes too far, and everyone always has to take care of. Be self-aware and know when to start drinking water (trust us, you won’t regret it in the morning).
Be careful about what you’re consuming.
You should never accept food or drink from a stranger. Yes, that includes the cute person at the bar offering to buy you and your friends a drink. Although it is very kind of them, politely decline the offer. You do not know where the drink came from or if someone has tampered with it. From the start of the semester through Thanksgiving break is considered the “Red Zone.” On college campus, the “Red Zone” is a period when people who identify as female are the most susceptible to being victims of sexual assault.
Watch your beverages
NEVER leave a drink or food unattended. Unattended drinks make it easier for someone to add drugs or other harmful substances to your beverage. Unfortunately, harmful substances, can still be slipped into your drink, even if it’s in your hands. Consider purchasing a “cup condom” is either worn around your wrist (like a hair tie) or comes in little packets (just like a condom!). The condom is available with or without a straw hole and can be stretched to fit over the rim of your glass. We highly suggest the condoms with a hole, that way you never have to remove the cover and your drink stays protected. Websites such as Amazon sell cup condoms for roughly $8-13 dollars and many are reusable. You can also check out your campuses safety department or health center to see if they have free cup condoms!
If you see someone slip a substance into someone else’s drink, tell someone immediately, such a bouncer, bartender, security, etc.
Always party safely, it is NEVER safe to drink and drive, do not let a friend who’s been drinking get behind the wheel. Even if a person you are with, claims that “they do it all the time”, DO NOT get in the car with them. Make a plan before you go out and have a back up one just in case. If someone agrees to be a designated driver, great, but always have a back up plan, such a ride share. If you decide to use a ride share, always make sure someone is either with you or tracking your ride, to make sure you reached your destination safely. Often times, rideshare companies have deals with colleges and offer discounts for college students to avoid drunk drivers on the road.
Know your surroundings.
Charge your phone because you never know when you or someone else will need it. When you go out, know where you are going or at least the general area of the party or bar, in case of an emergency. When you get to your destination, be sure to locate the emergency exits/easiest way to escape in case an emergency arises.