Picture this: A room jam-packed with college students, reeking of Natty Light and sweat. A little grinding action in the corner and a girl dancing in the middle of a table, thinking she’s the hottest thing since sliced bread. Boys who look barely old enough to have finished high school wearing neon green shirts that say “sober monitor,” holding the key to popularity and new friends in their hands—aka warm keg beer. The latest hits playing in one room and body-thumping techno music blaring in the basement. Failed attempts to pick up girls and drunken PDAs with complete strangers. The beer pong champ running the table and a floor so disgusting you wouldn’t dare take off your shoes. Welcome to your first frat party.
We want you to enjoy new freshman experiences, but we don’t want you to look like an amateur (There’s nothing worse than a group of upperclassmen pointing at you and chanting “FRESHMAN!”) —so here’s a guide on how to navigate the frat party scene like you’ve been there for years.
DO know which frat house you are at.
Chi Psi, Chi Phi, Phi Psi, Psi U—it gets a bit complicated when they all sound the same. “There’s nothing worse than calling a fraternity by the wrong name,” says Alaine, a senior at Miami University (OH). Also, make sure you know how to pronounce the name (Sigma Chi is pronounced Sigma Kye, not Chi like a Chia pet), and are familiar with the frat’s nickname (Sigma Phi Epsilon is usually referred to as Sig Ep). Ask a friend which house you’re going to before you actually get there.
DON’T wear a “new student orientation” lanyard around your neck or carry around a campus map (eek!).
I know it’s convenient to put your room key and ID card in a plastic holder hanging from your lanyard, and this is perfectly acceptable during the day (at least during the first week), but put these important items in your pocket or purse when you go out at night.