by Eric Ginsburg

1. We have dollar beer

I arrived in the Triad as a college kid, and maybe you did, too. And maybe like me, you didn’t know jack about drinking. Back then you could catch me consuming trash like Andre or Woodchuck, though luckily I never put myself through an Ice House or Mad Dog 20/20 phase. I blame being young and cheap. But if you need to save on cash, find a bar like College Hill in Greensboro that sells dollar domestics twice a week. Or maybe the $1 Jell-O shots at Downtown Brody’s Bar in Winston-Salem are more your speed.

 2. Your fake ID sucks

When a large group of Wake Forest kids all seem to be from the same random town in Illinois, it’s pretty easy to notice a pattern. Older siblings are the best bet, and even those fakies are obvious to anyone who’s paying attention. If you’re of age, ask to see the pile of confiscated IDs at Bull’s Tavern — it replenishes itself quickly.

 3. Find the unicorn

There’s a knife’s edge where you’re buzzed enough to feel relaxed but still maintain pretty solid control of your faculties. It’s an elusive target that can be briefly harnessed with careful buzz management through pacing, drinking water and eating food, and generally avoiding shots. Blacking out is for amateurs.

4. Try new stuff

College is all about experimentation and growing as a person or something like that, right? Extend that to your drinking habits. If you always reach for cranberry and vodka, try a gin drink. If you regularly chug/bong/eat beers, reconsider your sense of self worth and try to find a beer you actually enjoy. Check out a local brewery, winery or distillery. But don’t bother with the neon green, glow-in-the-dark, vodka-and-tequila liqueur known as Everglo. Or do, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 5. Revisit

You had a terrible experience that one time you drank way too much tequila, and now you won’t touch the stuff. Or maybe you hate whiskey because you’ve only had something off the bottom shelf. Unless it’s too triggering, give whatever you’ve sworn off another chance. Likely you were the problem and not the drink, unless we’re talking about vermouth or Everclear, in which case you’re onto something.

 6. Beer pong ends

Parties with beer pong will quickly become an endangered species after graduation. I did receive an invite to a beer pong tournament with other adults in Raleigh this summer, and my best friend and I ran the table at a New Year’s party in Massachusetts last go ’round. But on the whole, beer pong will disappear from your life, along with other incredible games (like Stump — do people play that here?) so treasure it while you can.

7. We have Uber now

And every once in a while, I still see the HEAT bus in Greensboro. Students are notoriously bad at getting off campus, but if you made it to college night at Inferno, download Uber and use it. Greene Street Club even organizes buses. A DUI is never worth it, and judges have no patience for such a cheap and reckless decision.

8. Liquor before beer

You’ve probably heard the mantra “Beer before liquor never been sicker, liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” That’s because it’s true. There are only a few rules to drinking — about driving and the ability to give consent in particular — and this is among the most important. That is, unless the thought of waking up in a bathtub covered in puke, or missing a party because you’re stuck in the bathroom holding your head, appeals to you.


Photo: The author, right, drinking at a party at his house during senior year of college. Photo by Hannah Sherk.

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