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College Counseling with Natalie: What’s the Deal with Parties?

By Natalie Daniels

College, like every part of life, can represent a messy rubbled pathway to get to your final destination. The first time away from home is freeing! You feel independent living life on your terms. At the same time, this independence brings tough decisions you need to make. And one of those big decisions revolves around the word parties.

Because of COVID-19, you shouldn’t be going to college parties anyway! Nonetheless, movies like to glorify partying as a big part of college life, so I might as well offer my personal experience on the matter.

The school that I attend is tiny. There weren’t many large parties. I’d get invited to get-togethers here and there. The only time I’d go to a real party was when my sorority would plan events with frats in the Boston area.

I know schools aren’t all the same. Large state schools fill their weekends with partying, so if you’re itching to go to one, there are tons out there.

The one thing I stress regarding parties is this- make sure you’re attending a party with people you trust. This is so important! Because you’re probably entering a new environment, you need to have people by your side who will stay by your side. Not to scare you, but there can be instances where you may be put in different situations that you need your friends for support.

Along with parties comes alcohol. I mean, it is illegal for you to drink alcohol until you’re 21. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be a nagging older sister that yells at you about the consequences of drinking, but I am going to advise you on how to be safe around it.

If you’re attending college parties, most likely, you will be around it. If you do decide to drink, make sure you are holding your cup at all times. If you have to go to the bathroom, give your cup to someone you completely trust. There are too many frightening instances when someone's cup has been contaminated.

As a 21-year-old, I look back on my experience with parties and alcohol. At times, I felt pressured into drinking when it should be my choice and my choice only. Please don’t fear being excluded if you decide not to drink. No one should make you feel bad about the decisions you make regarding your well-being. If you feel uncomfortable in that particular situation, there is nothing wrong with leaving.

Never, and I mean NEVER, go home with someone you don’t know at a party. If you wouldn’t get into a stranger’s car in broad daylight, why would you leave with a person you’ve only known for 10 minutes? You might hit it off with a boy or girl that you think has good intentions, and they might! But why chance it? If you feel like you connect with someone, get their number! Then you can find a time to hang out, probably in daylight, just to be safe.

Now that I’ve given you all precautions around partying, here are the fun aspects! My favorite part of parties is music. I love dancing along to good music; it’s the right way for me to get out of my comfort zone. I do better either with large parties with dancing around people I may not know, or small intimate talking parties with people I am very comfortable with. Find environments that feel the best for you!

Parties can be a great way to meet new people, but it doesn’t make it any less stressful. Sometimes it can be challenging to start conversations. The best thing you can do is ask questions about the other person you’re talking to. Ask them their favorite music to listen to, favorite movies, or what they want to pursue as a career. From there, you’ll be able to build a foundation of talking about yourself while also meeting someone else.

No rule book of college tells you you have to go to parties. If you decide it’s not your thing, no big deal! If you want to try it out, do it while being safe, of course. Your college years are all about experiencing things, however you choose.

Natalie Daniels is an editorial intern for Dreamlette. She is a journalism major at Emerson College with a love of storytelling. Her favorite topics include entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, social issues, and music.

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