Top 10 Things I Learned About Drinking in College

Posted at 5:00 AM Apr 19, 2010

By Susan Quesal


As the end of the school year approaches, many of our high school readers (did we ever figure out if anyone who reads this blog is actually in high school? Where you at, class of 2010? Holla back) are preparing to venture off to college next semester, and if they are anything like I was in high school, their thoughts have already turned to the vast social and educational world that is about to open up to them. It's super-exciting, y'all. Those of us who've been there and now have to exist either in the real world or the world of graduate/professional school miss it like you wouldn't believe. Never again will your amount of free time be so high and the expectations placed upon you be so low. Take advantage of this time, future college students: learn some things about drinking.

You're likely going to be drinking for the rest of your life. With every year older you get, however, making rookie drinking mistakes like peeing on your friend's couch because you think you're in the bathroom become more and more passé. For me, college was the time to learn those important life drinking lessons. Experiment for yourself (as those kids on Reading Rainbow always said, you don't have to take my word for it), but I humbly offer this 10-point primer to get you started off on the right path.

10) Treat a night of drunken debauchery like an athletic event

Sure, a night of drunken debauchery is a good time, but it also takes a toll on your body. Hydrate, before, during and after. Also, make sure to carbo-load. I remember celebrating a new job once in college by eating a giant Italian dinner and then going out for a night of carousing. The next morning, I woke up feeling like a million bucks. The lesson of the night: fill your belly with breadstuffs before you drink! You won't get as drunk (good) and you won't feel as bad the next day (even better).


9) Try to drink good booze if you can find it

Should you find yourself at a house party with a keg and BYO liquor, be sure to survey the bar before resigning yourself to the Natty Light or Lone Star or Beer 30 (yes, that's a real thing) that's in the yard. Did someone bring a bottle of something sort of decent? Maybe a Jack Daniels? Or a decent vodka? Take a healthy glass of that good booze and make it last the night. You'll thank yourself the next day.


8) Anything--and I mean anything--can be turned into a drinking game

There are all the classics that you should learn while you're studying the art of drinking--Asshole, Beer Pong, Flippy Cup, Quarters. But remember that if the company is lame and you don't have access to the accoutrement needed to play a traditional game, you can make something up. My friend Nicole used to play a game called "I'll Drink To That," which involved her taking a drink anytime someone said anything she vaguely agreed with, immediately after her saying aloud, "I'll drink to that." It doesn't have to be complicated, people. It just has to distract you from the fact that you don't have real friends yet.

7) Beer before liquor, liquor before beer--what the fuck ever, just stick to one thing and you'll feel better in the morning

I was taught, "Beer before liquor, never been sicker, liquor before beer, you're in the clear." My friend Annette was taught the exact opposite. What did personal experience teach me? No matter what the order, mixing booze and beer or mixing types of liquors or mixing really anything really is probably going to leave you feeling pretty crappy the next day. Which leads me to number 6...


6) Do not mix wine colors

I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. DON'T DO IT. I don't know the science behind it, but I do know that when my old friend Kiki didn't listen to this advice in college, she crawled across the floor on hands and knees to tell me a "secret" which she then forgot and spent the next few hours laying on the floor of our friend's bathroom. In fact, come to think of it, the majority of the puke-y nights I've been present for involved the mixing of wine colors. So FOR REAL, if you listen to nothing else I've said, SERIOUSLY don't mix your wine colors.


James B said:

Awesome article... These can also apply to military... I wish this article would have been given to me when I started out... hahaha.....

SheffieldSteel said:

If you routinely accept drinks from people you don't know really well, you should be forced to watch "Veronica Mars". All of it.

Andrea said:

I cannot stress enough the giant carb-tastic dinner advice. It continues to do me good.

jo said:

Wow, Susan. I feel like I have a story to go with each of these (particularly the paper writing & wine mixing!). If only you had been there to guide me those first years!
Jo "there's a man in my beer" wags

Bob said:

I wish there was a way to make this required reading for new drinkers. Great list, Susan!

Catherine said:

I would be class of 1010 but I left early to do drama so I'm kind of class of 2009.

AJ said:

the darker the booze the worse the hangover.

Courtney said:

Class of '07. (close) and just hit legal drinking age (well, in august, i'm not thinking about 22)! what what.

Most of these I've learned myself already, college town and there isn't much left to do on weekends besides drink. But a few were very helpful! thanks :)

p.s. can't get enough of this site, thanks :)

Natasha said:

It's liquor before beer because liquor is more dense and will settle on the bottom but beer first will get sloshed around if you put liquor in after in an attempt to arrange by density.

Either hangover will suck but if your stomach is sloshing too much you might vomit.

David Allen said:

You know, I made it through my teens and college years without drinking a drop. I'm wasn't a prude, nor a militant Christian (quite the opposite), I just spend time watching people drinking and never liked what I saw. Between people who got very sick (grossly sick), people who became violent, people who made very poor choices about bed mates, people who made very poor choices about activities that began with "Hold my beer and watch THIS", I never really saw anyone drink to intoxication that didn't wind up regretting it.

If people want to drink,, I'm cool with that. But I really wish people wouldn't pretend that drinking is cool. It isn't. When you are drunk you think you are funny and cool, but you are only funny and cool to other drunk people.

To the real world you are accidents waiting to happen, fights waiting to start, vomit that has to be cleaned up.

OK, now I am going to get flamed.

Autumn said:

#5 is excellent advice!

I'm also in the same boat as David Allen, however I will have 1 or 2 drinks but never more than that. Just too many stupid/regrettable things happen too easily.

Case and point: Last year on Canada day (I live in Ottawa so they shut down all of downtown streets and whatnot)my now ex boyfriend and best friend decided it would be a fantastic idea to get a tattoo commemorating canada day '09. They were both totally smashed, and stumbled into the tattoo shop, with myself and another close friend behind them telling them to stop and think about what they are just about to do. They did it anyways! My now ex has a wonderfully blotchy maple leaf on his wrist (cause he wouldn't stop rubbing it in the hours after he got it done) and my best friend wouldn't stop squirming so she now has wonderfully lopsided stars down her arm... Think before you drink guys.

David Allen said:

Nothing wrong with 1-2 drinks. Hell, moderate alcohol consumption helps the coronary arteries, I just don't understand "shots", "beer pongs" or any other activity which involve ingesting stupefying, and/or near fatal quantities of alcohol.

Alcohol makes you stupid, and in some cases, aggressive and violent. If I were a woman I would never impair my judgment, or place myself within a mile of men who drink this way.

And no, I am NOT blaming women for bad things that happen to them while drunk, I am just saying that perhaps the Dolls should not make drinking seem cool, when it really isn't cool. And yes, while this article does try and caution people, it also makes it seem cool to drink.

Stormie said:

I'm class of 2010 and read Heartless Doll pretty much daily in my 5th per. yearbook class. You know, when not actually working on said yearbook.

Alix said:

I'm a high school reader! Not class of 2010 though.

Spark. said:

'10 and I know at least three everyday readers my age.

Susan said:

To Dave:

Does it seem cool to drink from this article? You mean the part about my friend Kiki forgetting things and making an ass of herself and then puking? Or the part about having to drink because you don't have real friends yet and need to find something to do? Or the part where I flat out say you'll do things you regret and won't get your work done? I think I'm being pretty pragmatic about drinking -- it's going to happen and it's going to make you look stupid, so here's how to be less stupid about it. Drinking isn't cool and it isn't NOT cool, it's just something people do. And people do it for a lot of reasons, and I've personally never felt like "being cool" (which lord knows I am not even when I'm sober and especially when I'm drunk) was one of them.

But yeah, if there's any confusion about whether or not drinking makes you "cool" please see any one of my morning-after regretful tweets about what an idiot I feel like to dispel any rumors.


Rae said:

Lol, I'm in highschool, and I'm reading this blog, so yes, at least one of the readers is in highschool.

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