You may have heard about the infamous Saugeen stripper, the legendary parties that take place at Medway-Sydenham Hall or the rowdy, spirited streets of Broughdale Avenue that epitomize Western University's Homecoming. Whether it's on or off campus, Western's social scene is vibrant, well-seasoned and thriving. The people are friendly and the parties are unforgettable, acting as venues that foster invaluable, lifelong friendships.
But while parties can be a great time, they can also easily morph into a bad experience if you drink past your limit or make decisions you'll later come to regret.
Here are some dos and don'ts that will hopefully make most of your partying experiences positive.
Know your limit
In movies like American Pie, you may have noticed the general debauchery and excessive alcohol consumption that goes on at parties. Hollywood conflates partying and binge drinking; however, binge drinking is both unhealthy and dangerous. It can easily lead to nausea/vomiting and in severe cases, a trip to the hospital to get your stomach pumped. Alcohol effects vary from person to person so your limit may be vastly different from your friends.
If you've ever been to a party, you may have seen washroom lines that extend from the bathroom to the end of the hall. Alcohol causes you to pee more frequently, leading to dehydration and an imbalance in your body's sodium levels. Drinking water, or better yet, a sports drink like Gatorade helps counteract the effects of alcohol, especially if you want to prevent a hangover. Regardless of whether you're a first-time drinker or a veteran drinker, remember to consume your alcohol slowly, keep track of the number of drinks you've had and drink water periodically.
You're finally hooking up with the hottie from your calculus class, congrats tiger! If things get steamy and lead to the bedroom, the car or the study room, ensure you have protection. You don't want to wake up from a fun night having contracted a preventable STI or worrying about a potential pregnancy.
Conserve your phone battery
Stumbling at a house party and need Google Maps? An Uber? Your friend that's nowhere to be found? Make sure your phone has enough battery life before going out so you can stay safe when partying; use battery saver mode, turn off/refrain from using apps that drain your battery and bring a phone charger if you can.
Mix alcohol and drugs
If you've taken certain prescription or non-prescription medications within the past few hours, avoid alcohol. Alcohol can render some drugs less effective or exacerbate the toxicity. While not all drugs have harmful interactions with alcohol, ensure that you read the instructions of a medication prior to a night of drinking. If you're using illicit drugs, avoid alcohol altogether. Mixing alcohol and weed may increase your chances of greening out (nausea from smoking too much weed).
Abandon your friends
You're a part of the Western community now, so you need to look out for your fellow Mustangs. Let your friends know when you'll be leaving the party and keep an eye on them to make sure they're safe too. Stay with your friends if they're vomiting or have passed out, and call the Student Emergency Response Team if needed.
Pressure your peers
Everyone has different comfort zones, and it's important that we make everyone at Western feel welcome and safe. This sentiment applies to, but is not limited to, activities like drinking, sex or taking drugs. Treat everyone with respect.
Drink on an empty stomach
When there's little to no food in your stomach, alcohol is able to pass directly to the blood stream. This can lead to you becoming intoxicated much quicker than if you were to have some food in the tank. So when FOCO roles around and the day drinking begins, make sure to eat a good breakfast beforehand.