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Freshman 101: Tips for Partying at Penn State

Onward State has decided to reach out to incoming freshmen to enhance their experience at Penn State. We will be writing a series of posts which will provide advice to freshmen from students who were in their shoes not too long ago.  Whether you embrace or ignore the advice, just know that every freshman will have a unique and [hopefully] wonderful experience at Penn State.  We envy you.  This will be one of the best years of your life. Live it up.

Whether you’re prepared for it or not, freshmen, you’re about to enter a different world. In case you haven’t heard, and you probably have, you’re now a part of the school that has been consistently ranked among the best by the likes of Playboy and The Princeton Review when it comes to being a “party school.”

Just know that you will hear people stumbling back at 2AM, and that your dorm bathrooms may be wrecked the next day.  You may also find Pokey Stix littering the sidewalks.  This is completely normal.

You are expected to hold up the Penn State partying tradition. While we’re sure your eyes are lighting up at the idea of this, we also advise you not to get ahead of yourself. A big part of the Penn State partying tradition, for lack of a better term, is keeping your shit together.

We want to prepare you for your future party endeavors, so here are ten tips that should make you more party-smart than non-OS readers:

1. Bring a solid girl to guy ratio to frats – For those of you who are planning on entering the fraternity party scene, you are not getting in with more guys than girls unless you are REALLY good at schmoozing. And we mean REALLY good.  Split your large group up, explained here, to have the greatest chances of getting into that fraternity of your choice.

2. Ladies, invest in a fracket – It is in your best interest that you do not bring your North Face out, as it will almost certainly get stolen or stained.  A fracket can be defined as a “frat jacket.”  The fracket can be an ex-boyfriend’s over-sized zip-up, a worn-out fleece, or anything that you can wrap around you to keep yourself warm.  The point is that if you lose said fracket, it is not a big deal.  Find a suitable fracket early, because State College weather is unpredictable.

3. Don’t wear nice things to highlighter parties – This sounds like common sense, but there is always “that one girl” who decided to wear her nicest white dress to the party thinking it would be cute. And it is cute…until it gets ruined.  Instead, purchase a three-pack of white v-necks from McLanahan’s or WalMart so you are set for the semester.

4. Some parties will make you pay, so keep a bit of cash on you — There are some parties that have entrance fees, and there’s no getting past that. However, you will probably be invited to a few parties at which you have to pay $5 for a red Solo cup to drink. You can purchase 100 red Solo cups at McLanahan’s for around $3.99.  You do the math.

5. Don’t leave your wallet/purse/iPod/phone unattended unless you know and trust the owner of the party to keep your things safe – Believe it or not, some people act like kleptomaniacs when intoxicated (we like to blame intoxication instead of thinking people are outright horrible). Hide your things if you must. Ovens, washing machines, and kitchen cabinets are examples if you are trying to get creative about hiding your valuables.

6. Keep an eye on your drink at parties – You never know who will tamper with your drink if you leave it alone.  Be smart about it.  We don’t think we need to go further on this topic.  You’re all smart kids.

7. Make use of the Buddy System —  You may think that taking 20 jello shots is a good idea. This is false. And if you have a friend with you, he or she may be able to dissuade you from your act of stupidity. Also, walking home alone is pretty safe in Happy Valley, but it is always comforting to have someone with you.

8. Follow house rules for whatever game you may be playing – We don’t care how you played pong in high school.  You are in someone else’s house now, so respect their house rules.

9. Don’t be THAT GUY at the party – You all know what guy we’re talking about.  The one who had too much to drink and is shouting about wanting to get laid.  That, or he is puking all over the bathroom.  Control yourself.  You can be the life of the party without blacking out.

10. Keep an eye on the clock if you’re trying to catch a bus home – Find the CATA times here. Walking home in the rain/snow/cold isn’t the best way to end an evening.


That’s it for now, freshies.  We hope you’re ready to party at Penn State!  Don’t do anything too dumb, and make sure to have fun!

Check out the other Freshman 101 posts we’ve published recently!

Freshman 101: Helpful Links for PSU Students
Freshman 101: Gym Memberships
Freshman 101: On-Campus Life

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About the Author


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