There’s a cliche out there that you’re supposed to party hard while you’re in college. What they don’t tell you is a night of partying can often end face-first in a toilet. I’ll lay my cards on the table: I’m not a big drinker and never have been. So, on the one hand, I can’t tell you what it’s like to experience a night of puking into the tub. On the other, I can share my reflections from years of watching the club and bar scene with a sober eye, seeing who gets the guy and who makes a fool of themselves dancing on the bar.
I’m not going to give you all the tips you’ve heard from your roommates and dorm buddies. You know more about hangover cures than I do, I’m sure. (And if you find one that actually works, let me know.) Instead, I’m going to give you three tips to make sure you have a great time, whether or not you’re drinking.
1. How do you want to feel?
Before you go out, think about what you want the evening to be like. Be honest. If you really want to get plastered and don’t mind dealing with the consequences tomorrow morning, go for it! If you want to keep your wits about you and only have a few drinks, figure out how you’re going to manage it beforehand, whether that’s by taking along a non-drinking friend or only putting $20 in your wallet. Thinking through your night for even five minutes before you head out the door will save you a lot of unnecessary problems later.
2. Plan your morning the night before
Pop quiz: if you knew you’d have to go to a morning workout, would you have six drinks the night before? Didn’t think so. Now, I’m not advocating Sunday morning workouts (though you can, of course), but think through what you want to do the next morning BEFORE you go out the night before. That way, you’ve got something to look forward to besides a hangover.
3. There’s more to nightlife than clubbing
Most of the time, when people hear “party,” they immediately think, “going out drinking.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s tons of fun stuff to do that doesn’t involve alcohol at all, like rallies, festivals and cheering on the home team. I had an amazingly active social life in college and didn’t spend too much of it in bars. If you like bars, that’s great. If you don’t, check the posters around campus and see what else is happening.
Attention Bond Grrls “of a certain age”:
For most people, the post-college years feature far fewer “puking into the toilet” nights, and that’s a good thing. You’ve probably passed through the gauntlet and emerged on the other side. Congratulations! Just remember, the tips above are still useful for anyone painting the town red, not just the college crowd.