During college, students have many options in terms of social activities. College offers many different paths for you to take in terms of managing your free time. Thus, one of the activities that college students often turn to is partying.
Partying is not necessarily bad; in fact, it can be an essential part of the college experience. For many students — especially incoming freshmen — attending a college party is something that many look forward to. Whether it be a house party, a night out at the bar or an evening at the club — a party can be a great place to socialize and have fun. However, it’s important to note that the party scene is not for everyone. College parties often include loud music and bright lights which can be triggering for neurodiverse students or students suffering from anxiety. However, this certainly is not the case for every neurodiverse person, as everyone’s sensory experience will differ.
Most notably, parties can be a nerve-wracking place for students identifying or presenting as women. While anyone of any identity or gender presentation can experience sexual harrasment and sexual assault, it is known that this occurance happens disproportionately toward women and female-identitfying people. In a study conducted by Indiana University, it was discovered that as many as one in four women will experience sexual assault at college parties in America. The University of Connecticut even came under fire last year for its mishandling of sexual assault cases on campus. The story came about after Alexandra Docken, a 20-year-old student, stood in the rain protesting against how the school handled her sexual assault case. A photo of her protesting soon went viral on Instagram, gaining over 72,000 likes. Soon after, hundreds of students participated in a walk out on the Storrs campus, in solidarity with victims and survivors of sexual assault and harrasment.
While sexual assault and harrasment can happen anywhere, parties are often a breeding ground for this type of crime. It is important to remember tips to keep yourself safe at parties: Always keep an eye on your surroundings and your drink, and stay with a group of friends.
Finally, parties can also be a place of issue for students struggling with substance use issues. Parties are spaces that often have a copious amount of alcohol and drugs — something that can be extremely triggering for students who currently struggle with substance use, or students who are trying to recover from substance use. According to a study done by the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA), almost 50% of college students consumed alcohol within the month before the study, and 27.4% of those who consumed alcohol did so by binging.
While participating in parties can be a fun part of the college experience, it can also be problematic. When considering going to a party, figure out ways to keep yourself as safe as possible at the party, it’s important to think about how you may react to the new environment. If you are someone who struggles with substance use, it’s important to think about whether a party is the right social event for you and your health.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, assault, or are a student struggling with your substance use, please reach out to Student Health and Wellness for support or call their phone at (860) 486-0744.