12 Ways to Drink Responsibly in College
Posted by Laurie Dupnock on October 19, 2018
Not all students choose to drink in college. However, if you do choose to drink once you’ve hit that monumental age of 21, there are some things for you to keep in mind so you can stay safe while still having fun. I sat down with the College Prevention Coordinator of Binghamton University’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Programs and Services and learned some important tips to share with you. Your liver won’t be the only one thanking you.
Eat all the food
Eat up before you start cracking a cold one (or whatever your drink of choice). Order a pizza. Grab a burger. Cook up some spaghetti carbonara if you feel so inclined. Then, once you’ve started drinking, graze on snacks throughout the night to keep something in your stomach besides the alcohol.
Sip on water
Or chug it. Either way, make sure you’re alternating alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic drinks. Also, when you’re done drinking for the night, down a glass of water before going to bed and leave a full glass on your nightstand. That way, you can stay hydrated overnight and reduce your chances of waking up with a desert dry mouth and a horrible hangover.
Power up your phone
You’re not the only one losing energy as the night goes on -- your phone battery does too. Especially if you’re snapping selfies all night and documenting your night’s excursions on Snapchat. Make sure to charge your phone up before going out, or bring your charger with you if possible. Then, you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to call an Uber, or find your way home without the guidance of Google Maps.
Beware of binge drinking -- faster isn’t always better
FYI, that’s around 4 to 5 in about two hours. You can chug water, but you shouldn’t chug your drinks. Pounding down drink after drink is setting yourself up for a night full of vom instead of a night full of fun. Which option sounds better? Bottom line, space out your drinks!
One of the most important things to remember when you’re drinking is to be aware. Are you drinking while getting ready? Are you pregaming? Are you playing drinking games? Be aware of how much you’re drinking and keep track of how many “standard drinks” you’ve had. Sorry, but pouring your wine into a ridiculously large wineglass once doesn’t count as one drink.
Know your limits -- and don’t exceed them
It’s a bad idea to try and match people drink for drink -- we all have different limits. They could be totally fine, while you start spiraling out of control. Be mindful of your own limits and how much you can safely handle. Don’t ever feel pressured by others to drink more than you want to.
Don't mix and sip
Be extra cautious if you’re taking medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, because some can have serious side effects if mixed with alcohol. Antidepressants, cold and flu medicines, and antibiotics are all examples of medications that can interact adversely with alcohol. Read labels and check with your doctor if you’re unsure. Mixing alcohol with other illicit drugs or energy drinks is also dangerous.
Stick with your squad
Stay with your friends when you’re out drinking and keep a watchful eye on them. If they’re tossing back shots or doing something else unsafe, don’t be afraid to be “The Mom” and intervene. Also, be on the lookout for anyone -- your friend or not -- that may need help. If someone is puking because of alcohol, or worse, unconscious, they’re not fine. Call Harper’s Ferry to assess the individual; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have an exit plan
Know how you plan to get home before you leave for the night. Are you taking a bus? Calling a taxi or an Uber? Riding with a designated driver? Have this all figured out beforehand so you don’t have to panic later about having a safe way home. Also, notice how driving home wasn’t an option I gave. You’ve heard it before, and here it comes again: Don’t drink and drive. Refuse a ride with someone who has been drinking, too. It’s just not worth it.
Eat all the food: Round 2
Keep a mental list of your favorite places in Binghamton to grab a late night bite. There are plenty of places nearby that offer all that indulgent food you seem to crave most at midnight. Two of my favorite spots are Binghamton Hots and The Colonial because fries are life. Or, you can always hit up Dominos or Insomnia Cookies for a late night delivery.
Know when it’s time to tap out
If you are concerned about your drinking -- or a friend’s drinking -- there are resources for you here at Binghamton University that can offer assistance. You can visit the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) office on campus, or contact Erin Monroe at firstname.lastname@example.org for help finding the resource that’s right for you. You also should check out Binghamton University’s drinking policies, if you haven’t already.
Laurie Dupnock is a student assistant in the Office of Media and Public Relations and a graduate student in the MA English and Creative Writing Program at Binghamton University. She loves writing, health and wellness, the outdoors and coffee.
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