Popular culture has made it seem that America’s college students are only interested in two things: pranks and partying. The image of intoxicated college students and loud raves has been ingrained into people’s conception of college life. But contrary to popular belief, college parties aren’t the reason people apply for university.
Experts have determined that although wild college parties still definitely happen, students are more focused on other facets of campus life now. In a study conducted over two decades, researchers discovered the percentage of hardcore college partygoers have decreased from 36 percent in 1987 to just a little under 9 percent in 2014.
Despite this steep drop, college dorm parties and Greek raves are still popular. However, your freshman orientation may not have prepared you for the realities of a dorm room party.
Here is a freshman’s guide on what to expect and how to survive your first college party.
Should You Go to College Parties?
One of your most pressing questions might be why should you attend a party in the first place? Shouldn’t you be focusing on your studies and getting a good night’s rest instead? Why would you risk dropping out of college by going to college theme parties?
The answer is because socialization through parties is one of the informal perks of being a college student. Going to parties helps you build networks with other students that can be useful in the present and maybe even the future. Not all college parties are wild, alcohol-infused ragers after all. They could be small gatherings intended to help people meet each other or unite students with the same hobbies.
Even going to a dorm room party has its perks. You can be stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing a new facet of college life. You could surprise yourself by enjoying the dancing, meeting new friends and forming fun new memories.
The important caveat to all of this is how to attend wild college parties responsibly. Scheduling and boundaries are the most important assets in this regard. If you have a big test or even a report due in the morning, you should skip going to a dorm room party. If you are feeling poorly and have a fever, avoid going out of your dorm room at all.
College parties are a perk and not the point of attending university.
What Can You Expect at a College Party?
If you live in any form of student housing, you may expect the residents to throw a dorm room party at any point. What should you expect when you go to one of these events?
Music and Loud Noises
Even the most genteel of events will have some sort of music in the background, depending on who’s throwing the party. If its your standard college party, expect pop songs or dance music. A mixer might have classical music or an acapella group. If you need to focus on something and study, you should seek out the organizer and try to talk them into lowering the volume. If they don’t listen, call your building manager or supervisor to sort out the situation.
Alcohol and Other Substances
Alcohol and other substances such as drugs often find their way into most college parties. Unless you are of legal age, avoid drinking alcohol. Do not give in to peer pressure, especially if you are uncomfortable with the idea of drinking or using drugs. Should anyone try to pressure you into doing so, alert the organizers or go to the authorities if need be.
Do remember that not every event is a wild college party. There are plenty of parties that have very strict no alcohol policies or just consist of people enjoying hobbies without loud music. Just be wary of these things and be alert.
Tips for Surviving College Parties
If you are attending your first college dorm party or even just a themed party at college, you will need some help in maneuvering through the situation. Parties are wild and chaotic, you can never know exactly what could happen to you on the dance floor.
Here are a few tips that can help you steer clear of trouble and have as much fun as possible.
Don’t Drink If You’re Underage
Underage drinking is a severely punishable offense in most colleges and universities. Don’t risk your scholarship or even your place in the university by drinking. Politely refuse any and all offers of alcoholic beverages.
Look After Friends
If you’re going to a college party with friends, have each other’s backs. Always buddy up. Don’t let anyone wander off alone with strangers and always insist on staying in touch in case you get separated. If a friend has had too much to drink or is incapacitated in some other way, call it a night and escort them to safety.
Don’t Let Your Drink Go
Your drink should be well protected, even if it is non-alcoholic. A sad reality is that college parties often lead to spiking and drugging, as one study discovered that one out of every 13 college students have experienced being roofied. Never let your drink out of your sight and always keep an eye out on your friend’s beverages.
Keep Phone Handy
Your phone is a lifeline, whether to contact your friends or alert the authorities to an emergency. Always make sure that your phone is with you at all times and secure it in a bag or purse. Don’t just stick your phone in your back pocket. Before going to the party, make sure your phone is fully charged.
Set a Reasonable Curfew
Finally, always set a reasonable curfew, even if you have no classes or plans the next day. Staying at a party for two to three hours should provide you with ample opportunities to socialize and enjoy yourself without compromising your sleep schedule.
College parties are a staple of life on campus for a reason. They offer a way for students to relax, socialize and learn things outside of a classroom setting. The key to surviving your first parties is by learning to attend and behave in them the right way. Always remember that going to parties is not the point of your life in college.