Everyone likes a good party every now and then. It can be fun to unwind and have a good time with your friends, or meet new people and make some connections. When you’re young, however, sometimes you don’t realize what can happen when your partying gets out of control. It’s an important lesson that you don’t want to end up learning the hard way.
For one thing, it’s important to make sure that no party gets out of control. A group of friends having fun, playing music, dancing, and playing games can be perfectly fine. Some parties, however, get too wild, and that’s when things can turn bad. For one thing, there can be problems with drinking. Rowan has strict policies about drinking and drug use on campus, and all students should remain aware of them. The last thing you want is to have a party get you in trouble at school (or worse yet, get you expelled).
Even if you’re off-campus, however, it’s important to keep your head when it comes to parties and alcohol. No matter where you are, it’s never safe to drink and drive, or to be intoxicated around strangers. Always keep your head and your wits about you, and have a good time in a responsible manner. You also don’t want to end up in trouble with the police if a party becomes too loud and crazy and the neighbors call in a complaint. You also don’t want to get in trouble if someone at the party is serving alcohol to minors.
Aside from safety issues, however, there are other concerns that many people might not think about. We all know not to drink and drive, and everyone is warned from their teenage years onward to avoid drugs and dangerous situations. But what about the things no one warns you about? There are some risks that can come from partying that aren’t “dangerous,” but can still lead to problems in your life.
One issue that is important for college students to consider is how their party habits might affect their studies and academic life. Even going to good, clean, alcohol-free parties can be bad for you if you’re doing it every night of the week. You always need to keep your class schedule in mind, and remember to set time aside for studying and working on school papers. You also don’t want to be out too late every night and end up sleeping late and missing class. For these kinds of reasons it can be a good idea to limit your party life to the weekends, when it won’t matter if you end up sleeping past noon. If you have a job as well, you need to take your work schedule into consideration too. School and work should always come before partying.
There’s another issue, however, that many people I know don’t take into consideration. I know people who are responsible, never drink and drive, and never let their social activities get in the way of their responsibilities, and yet still have problems. One of the big reasons they can still have problems is because of money.
Let’s say you go out to a bar twice a week, Friday and Saturday night. You’re responsible and only have a few drinks, and make sure to have a designated driver. Since you’re a generous person, you buy some drinks for your friends as well. You’re also a generous tipper. By the end of the night, you could easily end up spending $50 on drinks and tips, even if you didn’t drink much. Even if you don’t drink, you could spend just as much going out to a restaurant if you are treating a friend to dinner. I know people who have a night out like that twice a week, and they never realize that by the end of the month, they’ve spent $400 on nights out. That’s more than my monthly car payment!
These same people I know are constantly complaining about their financial situations. They’ll need money for a car repair, a medical bill, or some other important thing, yet they’re unable to pay it because they’re always flat broke. What they don’t seem to realize, and what I hope you’ll learn and consider, is that by spending less money on partying, bars, restaurants, and other frivolities, they’d be able to save up more money for the important things.
This is the sort of lesson it’s far easier to learn once you’re living on your own and paying your own bills. If you live with your parents (or in the dorms, supported by your parents), you might not need to worry as much about covering all of your own expenses. When you have to pay rent, car payments, and other living expenses, however, you learn quickly that a balanced budget is an important thing in life. If you cut back on going out, and instead get together with your friends for a cheap activity like renting a movie, you can save a lot of money that can then be used for more important things. Even just cutting back to only going out every other week can save hundreds of dollars a month. The savings can be even greater if you’re someone who does more expensive things on the weekend, like taking trips down to Atlantic City.
And even if you don’t need the extra money now, because your parents support you, take a word of advice: save up as much as you can, while you can. Living expenses will catch you by surprise when you finally move out on your own, and it can be important to have a lot of savings to use for emergencies. My advice, if you currently have no money in a savings account, is to start putting away half of what you used to spend on frivolous things. Alternate between nights out and cheaper nights in, and tuck away the money you save for the future. Some years down the line, you’ll be grateful that you cut back on the partying in order to be more responsible with your life.