Varsity is the time to work hard and get your degree, but a little party from time to time doesn’t hurt either. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying events with your friends, and if you’re over 18 drinking isn’t a problem, right? Well, sort of. There’s a fine line when it comes to varsity drinking culture, and it’s important to recognise it before you go too far.

How much is too much?

We get it- alcohol is a big part of student life and when everyone around you is drinking, it doesn’t seem like a problem. Some students know how to drink responsibly, but unfortunately others don’t. The tricky part here is that people who drink too much or in an unhealthy way, often don’t realise they have a problem. It doesn’t help that it’s easy to normalise drinking too much at varsity parties.

Binge drinking

Binge drinking is another sign to look out for. If you or your friends drink a lot in a short amount of time, you might be binge drinking. This can be detrimental to your health, and it can put you in dangerous situations.

Drinking might seem like a light-hearted thing when you’re a student, but the truth is that just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t develop a drinking problem. Alcohol can temporarily numb you, and that can become addictive- especially when varsity life gets stressful. When drinking starts to take priority over your studies, work and other responsibilities, consider whether it’s something you should slow down on or cut out of your life entirely.

How to drink responsibly

Step one is to avoid sugary cocktails and mixers. These might taste good, but combining sugary drinks with alcohol is often a recipe for disaster. Not only can it get you drunk faster, but it’s also not good for your teeth, liver and kidneys.

Next, it’s important to make sure you’ve eaten before you start drinking, and that you stay hydrated the whole time by drinking water. Protect yourself from drunk driving by never getting into a car in which the driver has been drinking, and never getting behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. This is important not only for your safety, but for the safety of others on the road.

Finally, the key to being a responsible drinker at varsity is to not care what your friends think about you. Practice saying “no” when you’re offered a drink, and stick to your guns because your health is in your hands. No squad is worth putting your life at risk, and quality friends will respect your decision.

If you’re over 18, you’re legally allowed to drink as much as you like, but just because you’re allowed to doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Now that you’re at varsity, it’s important to be more self-disciplined. You don’t have to wait until something bad happens to become a responsible drinker. Make the choice today to live a healthier, happier life- not just in the moment, but for your future self too.

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