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

article images

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

Be aware

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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 emonroe@binghamton.edu 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.

via GIPHY

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. 

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.