Safety First: How to Survive Your 21st Birthday

35258nvv60nsgr_0By Rachael Smith, Student at Radford University

For some college students, the biggest event of your upperclassmen years is finally reaching the milestone of turning 21 years old.

My birthday is this summer and I have been waiting long enough to be included in bar-hopping and legally buying alcohol. However, the more I began to plan out the people I wanted to be with, the city I wanted to celebrate in and the bars I wanted to go to, I started to remember the good and bad aspects of turning 21.

Common terms associated with 21st birthdays are pre-gamming, shopping, friends, drinking, ID, party jewelry and dancing. But also: drunk, alcohol poisoning wasted, hookups, dangerous and hangover. Here are some tips to make sure either you have a fun and safe 21st birthday — or if you’re helping a friend celebrate, some ways you can look out for her.

Make Reservations
I live in a relatively small town and I know for a fact I want to party in a bigger city. Try to get a rough estimate of how many friends will be coming with you. You will all have to decide on a hotel and split the costs. Plan out who will be driving there and how you will get from place to place with a sober driver.

Make sure at least one of your friends is going to stay with you the entire night and look out for you, seeing that you get home safely and don’t drink too much. I know that I don’t want to end up alone and lost in a big city I don’t know and I want my friends to stick together and make sure I get a cab to the hotel.

Besides drinking…
Go out to dinner first and get some food in that belly! I know some people who purposefully deny food so they can get drunk faster. The downside to this is major chest pain and blacking out before the party starts.

Shots, shots, shots!
This is the first time you’ll get to legally be in a bar and most likely random bar attendees will buy you complimentary drinks and you just have to take what you get. Just watch how many beers, mixed drinks and shots you are taking. All of these mixed together can create a monster, plus you’ll hate your own guts in the morning. Tell your friends to know when to cut off the drinks. It’s ok to start slow; you don’t have to slam down the drinks. Make the night last!

Live it up
Lastly, take pictures! You’ll want to remember this night because you only turn 21 once! Remember these tips and you’ll be safe, healthy and have an awesome night no matter how you choose to celebrate the festivities!

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