Whether you’re graduating or simply enjoying the end of a long school year, now can be a great time to celebrate and spend time with friends and family. Here are some tips you can use to plan your ideal celebration.
1. Make it your own
While it can be easy to assume that most students will be partying or drinking at the end of the year, it’s important to know that not everyone does. In fact, 93% of CU students support choosing not to drink at parties.
If you choose to attend parties, try to be selective. Focus on celebrations that allow you to spend time with people you really care about and want to enjoy the summer with. If you choose not to attend parties, that’s okay too. There are plenty of ways to celebrate graduation or the end of the school year.
Here are some ideas for how to make it your own:
2. Keep your group small
It can be easy to get caught up in the celebration season, especially if you’re graduating alongside more than 6,000 other students. However, it’s important to be mindful of who you really want to celebrate your accomplishments with this year.
Identify who you’re planning to go out with, including family and friends. Make sure everyone is on the same page about how you want to celebrate, where you want to go, what parties you’d like to attend or what houses you’d like to visit. If you plan to drink or use other substances, be sure to choose a friend group that will take care of you even if you’ve had too much to drink.
3. Nail down your plans
The end of the year can be a hectic time with a lot going on. Make a game plan before you go out to make sure that you and your friends can all stay safe while celebrating.
Here are some tips that can help:
4. Use substances mindfully
It can be easy to get caught up in the moment, especially when our emotions are running high. Here are some tips to help you and your friends stay safer when using alcohol or other drugs.
Know your limits. Everyone's tolerance for alcohol and other drugs is different. Be mindful of your own limits and stick to them. Enlist your friends to help keep each other accountable at parties. If you’re not sure how much is too much, try to only drink one alcoholic beverage per hour. This will prevent you from going too far, too fast.
Avoid mixing substances. Mixing alcohol with other substances, including prescription medications, can increase the risk of an overdose. Keep in mind that fentanyl can also be mixed into many substances that are purchased off the street, including counterfeit prescriptions, MDMA and cocaine. Assume that any drug given to you by a friend or dealer has the potential to contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. If you or your friends plan to use prescription or illicit drugs, be sure to pick up naloxone and fentanyl test strips from the Health Promotion desk on the third floor of Wardenburg Health Center before you go out.
Stay hydrated. Hot weather and alcohol aren’t always a good mix. This is because it’s easier to become dehydrated, especially if you choose to drink during the day. Try to remember to stay hydrated by alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It can also help to have a snack or meal before you start drinking to avoid feeling sick or nauseous. Don’t forget to encourage your friends to do the same.
5. Help keep your friends safe
Social events that have drugs and alcohol involved can increase the risk of harmful situations, including unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault. Help keep others safe by practicing bystander skills.
Identify high-risk situations
Keep an eye on people who hit on the drunkest person at a party, encourage others to drink, try to get a drunk person alone or away from their friends, are persistent about pursuing someone sexually or commit low-level boundary violations. It’s not that people don’t understand consent, it’s that some people aren’t interested in honoring it.
Be an effective bystander
If you see someone in a potentially harmful or high-risk situation, you can do something to intervene. Bystanders are particularly important in situations where someone is being targeted by a perpetrator because of their level of intoxication, or if a person has been intentionally drugged in an attempt to facilitate sexual assault. Impaired or incapacitated people are usually unable to protect or advocate for themselves.
Keep track of friends
It’s common for perpetrators of sexual assault to encourage alcohol consumption or target those who are intoxicated. It’s important to check in with a friend if you observe any sudden changes (e.g. difficulty standing, disorientation, etc.) that might indicate they’ve had too much to drink. Learn more about drug-facilitated sexual assault.
Don’t leave friends behind
Commit to not ditching someone if they have too much to drink and/or become unwilling to stick with the plan to stay together. This decreases the likelihood that someone will have to rely on lesser known friends or strangers to get home, which can create risk for something bad happening. It’s also important to consider whether or not someone who is offering to walk a person home or look after an intoxicated person is trustworthy and being helpful or is potentially looking for access to someone who is vulnerable.
Trust your instincts
If something feels weird or wrong, it probably is. If you see a situation that ever feels uncomfortable or unsafe, follow your gut. It’s okay to make up an excuse to interject or interrupt something that doesn’t seem right in order to disrupt an uncomfortable or problematic situation.
6. Call for help in an emergency
Take care of your friends by watching for signs of alcohol poisoning or an overdose. Always call 911 for help in a drug- or alcohol-related emergency.
Signs to watch for:
How to respond: