This isn’t your momma’s party anymore. Photo courtesy of decafinata. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.This is the third post of the Incoming Freshmen Series. Read our introduction and our first post on style and second post on finance for more information, and stay tuned this week for our upcoming posts.

What better day to talk about partying on Wasted Wednesday? For most freshmen, alcohol is a foreign object. It’d be naive to pretend partying doesn’t happen in high school, but it’s certainly a different breed. There are much more people who drink in college, partially because Mom and Dad aren’t over their shoulder, and usually because those who are legally able to drink become legally able while they are in college.

Partying is an odd animal – unlike style or spending, having experience partying pre-college is actually a detriment. In fact, high school partying is a close cousin of partying like a freshman – the intentions are not to enjoy the company of friends and others while enjoying a nice adult beverage, it’s get as blitzed as quickly as possible. The more you don’t remember, the better your night was. Total freshman move.

In large schools like mine, reputation doesn’t spread as quickly as it does in high school. But if you were that kid who passed out in the quad and was woken up by the University Police that one night, it probably won’t be the best way to start college. After the jump, there’s tips on how to start your college experience on the right foot while partying – the right way.

Be careful. If you’re drinking underage (most likely, you will), please don’t be stupid. Put yourself in scenarios where you will be safe – house and apartment parties chiefly, with some bars where restrictions will be lax, but don’t flaunt the fact you’re drinking – you’re heading for a world of trouble if you do.

Be courteous to your hosts. Here, fraternities often will host ladies and non-affiliated gentlemen over the summer for open parties. Demanding alcohol, or a specific brand is an absolute faux pas. Often times, this alcohol comes from the hosts’ pockets, be it a Greek organization or just a house party, so demanding a ritzier brand is offensive.

Be safe. This is true for both the newbie and the experienced drinker. People who are drinking for the first time often exaggerate their capacity and end up puking all night. People who drink a lot often drink just to get plastered. Both scenarios are no bueno. When beer commercials say “drink responsibly”, this is what they mean. Don’t get near a car. Don’t put yourself in danger. Too many people have lost their lives to drunk driving and alcohol poisoning. It’s not worth it.

Be social. The one person I usually can’t stand most at parties is the person drinking over there in the corner. You’re at a party, have fun! Sometimes my friends who don’t drink are the best at this – there’s no alcohol to distract them, so they get to enjoy the spirited nature without the buzz. If you’re just coming for free alcohol and not to get to meet people, you’re doing it wrong. Even if this is a one-time party, you would to conduct yourself well enough to earn an invitation back for next time.

Stay away from social media. “HEY, TAKE THIS PICTURE WITH ME, I CAN’T WAIT TO POST THIS IN MY ‘NIGHTS I DON’T REMEMBER’ ALBUM ON FACEBOOK!” Stay away from this person at all costs. It’s great to make friends, and photos are fine, but photos with booze can be the death of you, especially underage. Also, while you’re partying, Facebook and Twitter are no-no’s, just like text messages. It’s only going to lead to regret.

Stop bragging. This is another unattractive freshman trait at parties. It’s okay to talk about yourself, but talking about your large liquor cabinet in your dorm room or how many girls you’ve been with – not cool. You look like a tool, and if people remember it after their night, it won’t reflect kindly upon you at all.

Put a lock around your wallet. If there’s purchases I regret most, it’s those I’ve made when I’ve been a little under the influence. Hamburgers and pizza and Jimmy John’s, usually. Tastes so good when I’m eating, but hurts so much when I look at my cash flow the next day.

Most importantly, value balance. You’re in school to study, and mold yourself into an adult. No one can study all day and night (I’ll be talking how that’s counterproductive later this week), but if you’re going out 6 of 7 days in a week, you might not be doing it right. But if you’re able to do that and maintain excellence in all other aspects of your life, you’ve mastered it. Just make sure partying doesn’t get put on a pedestal. The old adage about partying and class – you can always retake one, but you can’t relive another – isn’t true. There’s more than enough times to go out and party in college, and you’ll always be able to take advantage of them. Just not at the expense of your studies.