Let’s be real: When you first get to college, partying is probably going to be on your mind. With the new found freedom of college comes the new found ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and if that “whatever” happens to include chatting with as many strangers as possible in dark, techno-filled rooms, so be it. But, if you’re going to party like it’s 1999, there’s some things you should know. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you’re headed to the next frat parties on Greek Row.
1. Know your frats.
If you take nothing else away from this list, ALWAYS know which house’s party you’re actually at. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having the guy of Sigma Alpha Mu tell you that you are, in fact, not at the SAE house. If you’re new to Greek, or your school has a lot of chapters, it’s understandable to not be able to distinguish them all from day one. That being said, just make sure to ask a friend before going to a house. You’ll be thankful later.
2. Don’t expect top-shelf liquor.
You will be getting served cheap beer, and, if you’re lucky, vodka from a plastic bottle. I wish this was an exaggeration, but when you’re being provided drinks for free, you only have so much room to complain. If kegs aren’t your things, drink before going out. But, at the end of the night, you’ll find that the quality of your drink doesn’t really matter anymore.
3. The girls matter just as much (if not more) than the guys do.
A lot of frats have sweethearts: girls who serve as the female face of the fraternity. Even if your school doesn’t have them, you’ll notice that there are girls who can always be found at a certain fraternity’s parties. These girls generally know a lot of the brothers and also carry a bit of influence among them. If you’re at a small house, friction or friendship with these girls can often transfer to your relationship with the brothers. This is rarely a problem, but it doesn’t hurt to be on these girls’ good sides, either.
4. Watch your drinks.
Disclaimer: Not every fraternity brother is out there to slip something into your drink and turn you into a sexual assault statistic. The majority of fraternity gentlemen are nothing short of great guys who just want to have a fun time. Still, there’s always a chance that things can go awry, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You know the rules. Watch your drinks get poured. Don’t take a drink from a stranger. Don’t leave your drink and then come back to it. Be smart with your drinking, and the good times will stay good.
5. The bathroom is just as bad as you’ve imagined.
Actually, it’s probably worse than you’ve imagined. A lot worse. It’s downright terrifying. Everything, and I mean everything, will be covered in some sticky liquid that you pray is alcohol. You don’t even want to stand in there, much less pee in there. You will question how a room could even get that dirty in a few hours (you don’t want to know). While I don’t advocate peeing in bushes, I’ve definitely heard worse ideas.
6. Mind the photos.
This message is especially for all of you who just went through recruitment. I get it: throwing your new symbol anywhere and everywhere is fun. But nothing good ever came out of party pictures, pledging or not. You will look five times drunker than you actually are. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to make out yourself in the dark, unless you turned the flash on, in which case the picture gets even worse. Just don’t do it. And if you’re going to ignore me and do it anyway, at least wait until you’re sober to pick which one to post.
7. There is a 95% chance you will not meet the love of your life.
Whenever I ask girls why they go out, the answer is almost always the same: to meet guys. While I’m not claiming this isn’t a good plan, sit down and actually think through this situation. You’re in a dark room, probably drunk, and you can’t hear anything or anyone over the sound of the terrible electronic music. Is this really the story you want to tell your grandkids? Best case scenario: you make out with the guy you have a giant crush on, hook up for a few weeks, and then start dating. Which there’s nothing wrong with. Just remember: Cinderella didn’t meet Prince Charming over a game of flip cup.
8. Don’t be that freshman.
You know the one: they’re suddenly best friends with everyone, especially people who have no idea who they are. They’re running around for no apparent reason, until they violently crash onto the toilet 30 minutes later. Look, parties are there so you can have fun and meet people. But passing out in a random bathroom has never once constituted as fun. You do not have to drink every drink you are offered; no one will think less of you for it. There is nothing worse than being known as “that freshman” at a house, and that’s assuming they let you come back.
9. Your outfit matters 5x more to you than it does to anybody else.
If you want to look super cute for every party you go to, by all means, go for it. But your outfit stops mattering about 30 seconds after you walk in the door. When it’s dark and everyone’s wearing beer goggles, no one really has the will or attention span to check out your outfit (besides that freshman). The amount of dressing up people do for parties varies by school, but at the end of the night, it’s more important to make sure you’re wearing something you’re actually comfortable in (those houses are hot!).
10. You don’t have to drink during drinking games (or at all, really).
Take it from someone who didn’t drink for the first seven months of college: it is completely possible to go out sober and still have a good time. If the party isn’t fun sober, it’s not a good party. But if you are drinking, but aren’t good at or into drinking games, there’s still ways for you to get involved. It’s pretty easy to find a guy or two that’s willing to drink your cups for you (especially at partner games like beer pong). Plus, it’s a great way to meet and chat with new people when you need a break from the dance floor.
11. Watch your girl-guy ratio.
This is another rule that varies from school to school. Sometimes, fraternities will under no circumstances let any guy who’s not a brother into the house. Other times, fraternities will be more lenient as long as there is a good girl to guy ratio within a group. A good rule of thumb is to always have two girls for every guy. If you know a brother and let him know you want to bring a guy friend or two with you, a lot of the times they’re pretty chill with letting a couple slip through the door. But don’t show up with seven guys or a total group of 15 people. Be reasonable, and the brothers will be, too.
12. There’s often a lot more going on then just drinking.
While the majority of the house is all drinking and dancing, there’s always a room or two where things get a lot more illegal. In these rooms you will find everything from weed to narcotics. I like to call these places the AVOID AT ALL COSTS rooms. Repeat after me: drugs are bad. You’ve all taken the D.A.R.E. program, I don’t have to tell you the numerous ways drugs can ruin you. Don’t be stupid. If you somehow find yourself in one of these rooms, make polite chit chat and then conveniently locate yourself to anywhere that isn’t there.
13. Don’t leave with people you didn’t come with (without telling them).
It is completely and totally acceptable to leave a party with a guy. This is a slut shame-free zone. Live your life, have your fun (safely). That being said, you cannot just ditch your friends and disappear into the night. That is a good way to get campus security and/or the police called on you when your friends all fear you ended up in a ditch (true story.) So, if you’re going to leave with someone you didn’t show up with, just make sure you do a lap and tell at least a couple of people.
14. Have fun, just not excessive fun.
Remember: it’s only college. This is a time to experiment and get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, meet new people, and drink new drinks. It’s all about having a good time, however you choose to do it. But whatever you do, do it smartly. If it’s your first night drinking, don’t get into a shot-for-shot contest with an upperclassman. Don’t be that girl who gets a party shut down because they had to call you an ambulance (It happens.) Don’t be that girl who breaks her foot wall-twerking (This, unfortunately, also happens.) Don’t make out with every brother in the fraternity, at least not in one night. If you do it right, you’ll have memories that’ll last you a long, long time.