How to Survive a New Paltz Weekend

 A guide for SUNY New Paltz students to stay safe while having fun.

Bargoers standing in front of McGillicuddy’s, restaurant by day, popular college town bar by night. (Photo courtesy of Emily Press).

For college students, every weekend is taken as an opportunity to party. For some, letting off steam from a tough workweek can take the form of heavy drinking, skimpy outfits and bars/parties. Although it is ingrained in college culture to party hard, it is important to take care of yourself first. Whether you are a newcomer or already involved in the party scene, look no further. Here is a top 10 list of everything you need to know before going out as a SUNY New Paltz student.

#1 Make a Plan 

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of going out, it’s important to plan out your night. Whether it’s a small gathering with friends or a big party downtown, know what you’re doing. This includes where you plan to go, when you plan to go and who you are going with.  Although being spontaneous can be enticing, it can also lead to miscommunication and separation among friends or set groups. 

#2 Use the Buddy System

On a night out in New Paltz, you never know who you are going to meet. Because of the surplus of people who come from out of town to hit the bars, it’s important to never walk alone. This is a simple safety precaution that is essential to follow. Ahead of going out, organize one or two people that are your designated buddies for the night. You won’t leave without the others and vice versa. As a result, everybody always has someone and is accounted for.

“Although I generally feel safe around campus and in town, you never know what could happen,” said SUNY New Paltz student Britney Cuevas. She swears by the buddy system to keep her and her friends safe, and you should too. 

#3 Wear a Jacket

A fatal night-out mistake is the classic “I don’t need a jacket.” Many have fallen victim to this line, such as New Paltz student Sonja Reyda who reminisced about her cold memories of the previous fall semester.

“It was always so cold and I was miserable,” Reyda said. “I will never make that mistake again” — and neither should you. Pick a designated jacket you don’t mind losing and take it wherever the night takes you. The local Salvation Army thrift store is a great place to find your staple bar jacket on a budget.

#4  Watch Your Drink

On any given night out at a party or in a bar setting, you should be watching your drink and who has access to it. In packed pubs like P&Gs and McGillicuddy’s, this is even more vital. Unfortunately, drink spiking is a common occurrence and can happen to anyone. A study by the University of South Carolina found that 1 in 13 college students reported they had been drugged and 1.4% of students reported drugging someone or knowing a person who has drugged someone. To stay safe and aware of your drink, there are three major rules to follow. 

  • Always watch who pours and hands you your drinks
  • Do not entrust strangers with your drinks
  • Once you have put down your drink and looked away, consider it contaminated

#5 Drink Responsibly 

For those over the age of 21, drinking can be an integral part of a good night out. While drinking can enhance a fun night, it can also lead to a slew of poor and dangerous decisions. If you plan to drink, do it responsibly. Know who you are with, what situation you are in and most notably, your limit.

Although other college students may tell you otherwise, you do not need to binge drink to have fun. Being too “wasted” impairs rational decision-making, such as the choice to not drive. According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Abuse, drunk driving created 28% of all driving accidents in 2019. Don’t add to the statistic and be smart when you drink.

#6 Charge Your Phone

In the midst of pregame photoshoots and texting about plans, it may be easy to lose track of battery percentage. It can disappear faster than you think and suddenly you are left with a dead phone and not enough time to charge it. Don’t leave it until the last minute! Charge your phone as much as you can before you leave. Being in communication with friends, sharing locations and your buddy system is key for a safe experience.

#7 Hydrate

Whether you are staying sober this weekend or drinking with friends, staying hydrated is important to keep yourself feeling good all night. It’s essential to drink water before, during and after you plan to go out.

Gourmet Pizza is often a place bargoers frequent to refuel after a long night of partying. (Photo courtesy of Emily Press).

#8 Eat

Although a handful of pretzels might suffice as a meal for little kids, it does not work for the grown college student. To make it through the night you can not forget to eat. For those over the age of 21 who plan to drink, this is even more crucial. You do not want to be the sloppy drunk your friends have to take care of because the last thing you ate was a banana at 10 a.m. 

Luckily, New Paltz has some perfect late-night food spots to fix this. This includes Huckleberry, Apizza and Gourmet Pizza — arguably the most popular spot among students. Open the latest out of the three choices, Gourmet has become a fan favorite staying open well into the morning. 

SUNY New Paltz student Morgan D’Amore has been on a journey to rank all the pizzas across New Paltz and has deemed Gourmet Pizza as the perfect desperation destination during a night out. “Even though it’s not the best pizza in town,” D’Amore explains, “when you are hungry, tired or drunk, it’s delicious.”

#9 Know When to Stay In 

While going out every weekend can be a blast, it can also be overwhelming. It’s important to take time to relax and recharge. Staying in is not “lame” and you might even have more fun than your friends who ended up going out. Social media often exaggerates the excitement of a party with strategic poses and plastered smiles. In reality, your friends probably wish they stayed in with you. Don’t let the fear of missing out keep you from staying in. 

#10 Have Fun

But when you do choose to go out, it is important to enjoy it. Surround yourself with good people, music and experiences. If the DJs at pubs like P&Gs and McGillicuddy’s may not be your style, the live music at Snug’s may be exactly what you are looking for. When the bars are too crowded, maybe your preferred venue is a small house party in town. Wherever your night takes you, keep these tips in mind to keep you and your friends out of harm’s way.

Emily Press

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