Partying is a core experience for orientation week at most universities.
I still remember every detail from orientation week when I was in first year, from the wild moments I cherish to a few instances I’m not so proud of. In both cases, a good chunk of those memories involve partying and consuming alcohol.
Drinking can be risky, and to stay safe, it should be done responsibly. Whether this is your first orientation week at Queen’s or your fourth, I’ve curated my guide to drinking responsibly.
- Pace yourself
When drinking—especially if it’s your first time—it’s best to be conscious of the number of drinks you have and the time it takes to drink them. A key aspect of pacing yourself is spreading out the number of drinks you consume to one drink an hour. Make it a point to check in with how you feel after each beverage.
For those experimenting with alcohol for the first time, it’s important to remember your reactions to alcohol may differ from your friends.
Different bodies process and metabolize alcohol at different rates, it’s important to stay vigilant about how you’re feeling and note any changes. Once symptoms escalate to feeling dizzy, having a headache, and being nauseous, it might be time to stop drinking all together.
- Eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated
Because alcohol is a diuretic, eating well and staying hydrated is vital for keeping yourself from getting too drunk too quickly, and ensuring a fast recovery the next day.
If you don’t stay hydrated, you might use the washroom more frequently, which will make you become dehydrated faster. This leaves your skin dry, the toxins in your body build up, and you’ll feel dizzy and faint faster. It can contribute to a worse hangover the next day.
Getting a good meal in before drinking helps slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Healthy fats and high protein meals all have macronutrients that take longer to be digested, slowing down your body’s absorption of alcohol.
To keep yourself from having a terrible hangover, eat foods like eggs, chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, avocados, salmon, and stay hydrated the whole night.
- Have a safe place
It’s easy to lose your friends at street parties during orientation week, making it all the more important to have a place to meetup at the end of the night. Aiming to finish off the night at someone’s house or a key campus landmark gives everyone a goal of reconvening safely.
If you end up alone and are too intoxicated to take care of yourself, places like the Campus Observation Room (COR) are important to keep in mind. I can personally attest to how amazing the people at COR are.
Just keep in mind the COR isn’t a replacement for the ER, and they’ll take people that are still capable of consenting to be admitted. If someone is intoxicated and unconscious, call 911.
- Stay with people you trust and have a designated driver on hand
When going out, it’s always useful to have a designated driver as part of your group. This is the person who doesn’t indulge in alcoholic beverages and will watch over you and your friends on a night out.
On nights where you can’t find a willing designated driver, be sure to refer to the other resources at your disposal. Uber is always a convenient option when you need to get home but are too drunk to walk all the way back. You can share your location with friends who stay home so they can at least supervise you from a distance.
When you go out to any party where you expect to drink, its best to be surrounded by your friends and people you trust. By staying close to people who care about your wellbeing, you’re more likely to be stopped from drinking carelessly and acting recklessly.
Besides, going out with your friends makes the whole experience 10 times better anyways.
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