All around the US, millions of high school graduates are getting ready to head off to college in the next month or two. As a current college student, I can guarantee you that these are going to be some of the best times of your life (minus finals week of course). Football tailgates, formals, and freshman orientation are just a few of my fondest memories. However, with these new changes come new responsibilities. Keep reading below!
1. Know who you are dating
While this certainly does not apply to everyone, you probably already knew your significant other fairly well before you started going on dates in high school. Perhaps you and your high school sweetheart had known each other since middle school or earlier. However, this obviously changes in college, as your dating prospects could literally be from anywhere, even a foreign country. As a consequence, you need to take dating very slowly. Even though that guy or girl in your dorm may seem fantastic, you initially know nothing about his or her character or values. Only time will make this clear. Therefore, the first few dates with someone you don’t know well always need to be in a public place, such as a restaurant or movie theater. Date rape, where the victim knows the attacker, is more common than you may think on college campuses.
2. Not everyone is ‘doing it’
Even though it may seem like everyone is having sex in college (which they’re not), don’t assume that you should do it too. You want to come home for Thanksgiving with news about new friends and classes rather than an unplanned pregnancy or STI.
3. It’s ok to say no to sex
No one is entitled to have sex with you. Quite frankly, if your significant other truly loves you, he or she will be willing to wait. Real love runs much deeper than physical attraction.
4. Avoid the punch
You have NO idea how much alcohol may be in a homemade drink at a party. It is really easy to mask the taste of alcohol with mixers and Everclear, a tasteless/colorless beverage which is up to 95% alcohol. Therefore, that cup of punch you have at a party may seem like it has just a splash of alcohol in it. However, that punch could possibly “pack a punch” and have the equivalency of 4 or more drinks in it. Before you know it, you could already be drunk and make a decision you regret like having casual sex.
Remember – the law says you have to be 21 to drink. I know plenty of people who have gotten a Minor in Possession (MIP) offense in college. That is not something that you want on your record when you are applying to jobs and internships!
5. Watch your drink
You should always watch your drink at a party, even if you aren’t drinking alcohol. Date rape drugs, such as Rophynol (aka ‘roofies’) or GHB, can easily be slipped in a drink without you ever knowing. While historical statistics show that date rape drugs aren’t rampant in documented rape cases, that doesn’t mean you are immune to those risks. In fact, one of my close friends strongly suspects that she was drugged at a bar a few weekends ago. Anything can happen!
6. Set the boundaries before the ‘heat of the moment.’
In college, you will probably have much more alone time in a private place, like an apartment or dorm, with your significant other. Sometimes, it is much more tempting to make hasty decisions, like having sex, when you are completely alone, without the risk of your parents barging in the room. Make sure you set boundaries with your boyfriend or girlfriend before the opportunity presents itself. You are much more likely then to make the smarter decision of abstaining from sex.
Savor your college experience in a healthy and safe way. You may be a teenager, but you aren’t stupid. You owe it to yourself to make smart and mature choices with your new-found freedom.