“Party Safe” is often the echoed plea from Berkeley admins to incoming freshman. Our fresh faces and innocence can make us easy to spot—and perhaps easy targets at parties. Many incoming freshman have no idea how to party, let alone how to do it safely. Free from parents for the first time, many see this opportunity as a chance to “cut loose” and perhaps not make responsible preparations.
My first semester at UC Berkeley was this recent Summer Session, and I watched around 10 or 11 pm as packs of summer freshman would slip out of Unit 3 into the night. The girls with their painstaking routine to get ready and the guys with their talks of “wingmanning” would face a brave new world of college parties: new creatures entirely different from the high school parties of last year.
This cycle—repeated year after year—where teenagers transition to a life as young adults is one of the most complex we face in life. Not quite adult enough to make well-thought-out decisions or employ critical thinking but out of the grasp of our parents—a first for many. We’ve all heard the recommendation not to party, but on the college party scene, students can’t avoid being around the consumption of alcohol and other substances. The key for fresh young adults is to be as safe as possible and to have a backup plan.
Incoming freshman remember the tips we’ve heard so many times include “stay away from open containers and drinks from strangers,” but also “be aware of new game-changers that college brings.” These aren’t the high school hometown parties we once knew.
To counteract the dangers of the college, travel in a group, appoint a sober “driver” (or walker, or drunk wrangler), and take advantage of Cal transportation and Bear Walk. Above all else, look out for each other—if a friend disappears without reason, call or find them. Have a policy to leave no man behind.
It’s a brave new world out there, and it’s best to come prepared. Whether you’re a frat party veteran or you’ve never seen a party except for on TV, make safety part of your pre-party checklist along with your cell phone and ID. Slip into the night, but slip safely, my friends.
Article by Ally Rondoni
Feature Image Source: The Odyssey