Vriezen: Be safe, be smart.

Claire Vriezen

College is a time of freedom. Your parents are back at home, leaving you independent and able to take control of your life. For myself, if I had to pick out my favorite aspect of college, it would certainly be the independence I now enjoy. 

But enjoying this newfound independence comes with a word of caution. It is far too easy to spend the weekends out partying. While I’m not going to bother reminding you that underage drinking is illegal, I am going to offer a bit of advice to those of you that will participate in it regardless. 

Always go out with a friend you can trust. I have overheard one too many stories about friends losing track of each other when they go out on the weekends. Especially if you have not experienced excessive drinking before, you should have someone you can rely on to make sure you stay safe and get back home unscathed. 

Always watch your drink. This especially applies to females. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the possibility of date rape drugs. If this means you have to buy another drink after leaving yours unattended for a moment, a few bucks more is worth the ensured safety.

Have a designated driver. It has likely been drilled into your head, but this is so important that it bears repeating. If you are driving somewhere after drinking, for the safety of yourself and others, ensure that your driver isn’t intoxicated or even buzzed. 

Have a condom on hand. If you ever plan to hook up with someone or think there is even a possibility of it happening, make sure you are protected. You don’t want to come home after a fun night out and later discover that you picked up an STI, are pregnant or got someone else pregnant. 

Don’t be afraid to call the police. If something goes drastically wrong (perhaps a friend is showing signs of alcohol poisoning or has gotten into an accident) call 911. It is better to get in a bit of trouble for underage drinking than a lot of trouble if a someone gets hurt. 

While the best way to avoid all these bad situations is to not put yourself in them, I am a realist. A good number of students will engage in underage drinking during the year (as they do every year) and their first and foremost concern should be the safety of themselves and of their friends. Hopefully this short list will provide a few good starting points for a safe time.