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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Content warning: This article discusses alcohol usage. 

As my freshman year comes to an end, I can confidently say that college is everything I never expected (and more). From roommate drama to loneliness, there are so many unexpected struggles embedded within your first year of college. I don’t say all of this to scare off prospective students. Please, make your mom proud and go to college. I just want to be transparent. I decided to write a column about the things people don’t tell you about freshman year and about college in general. So, sit back and get ready for some honesty. You’re going to need it, fresh meat. 

In the spirit of honesty, let’s get right into why you’re excited to go to college. Sure, when your grandma asks, it’s to get a degree. When you’re gossiping with your best friend, it’s to party. Kidding (not really)! An undeniable part of the college experience is going out with friends on the weekend (and sometimes on weekdays) and having a good time. While an aspect of this involves drinking, by no means is this obligatory. One thing I wish I knew before going out to college is that no one cares what you do. Nobody cares if you stay in to binge-watch Love Island on a Saturday night or if you drink yourself silly in a frat basement. Do what you want and have pride in those choices. If one of those choices is to go to a college party, you’ve come to the right place. 

For most freshmen that I know, the quintessential going out experience involves a frat party and, maybe, some 2 a.m. McDonalds. BU has one off-campus street where many fraternity houses are located. Find out where “frat row” is at your school. Most fraternities will “throw” or host their parties Friday and Saturday nights with doors opening around 10 p.m. 

Movies and television make it seem like anyone can just prance into these parties. However, for most students, this is not the case. You will have to wait in line to get in. There will be dozens of girls pushing to inch closer toward the door, but the frat bros will remain unfazed. Some fraternities will “cap” parties throughout the night when they are packed inside. It is debatable as to whether or not they truly reached capacity, or they don’t want to let anyone else in for whatever reason. I once made the mistake of coming to a party at midnight hoping to be let in. I was then rejected at the door (by a Chad) and was quickly humbled that night. So, arrive on time and be ready to wait. 

So, you and your friends waited in the freezing cold for ten minutes and finally got let into the party. You are herded into the basement by a guy named Connor. When you get down to the basement, there will definitely be a gross smell. If you make it through the crowd, you might just find a bar in the corner of the basement. By a bar, I mean a table with an anxious pledge pouring the tiniest splash of vodka into a red solo cup. If you choose to drink at the frat party and not beforehand, watch your drink being poured. 

[A brief aside — I always wondered what to wear to these sorts of things. If you go to school in New England, most girls will be wearing jeans and a cute, tiny top. Do not wear nice shoes. In fact, designate a dirty pair of shoes to use for when you brave the Amazon Rainforest, or a frat party.]

Now that you and your friends have gotten a drink, dance and have a good time. Personally, I put a lot of pressure on myself to try and talk to guys at these parties. Truthfully, no one comes to these things to chat it up. With the music blaring, you can barely hear your own thoughts. After I went to my first frat party, I was overwhelmed when most of my friends found random frat guys and made out with them. I felt like I was doing something wrong because, instead, I ended the night with my lips touching a Big Mac. Never feel pressure to do something you aren’t comfortable with, even if the pressure is self-imposed. By going to a frat party with zero expectations, you will not be disappointed. 

At the end of the night, either the cops will shut down the party or people will begin to leave. Don’t fret, simply account for everyone in your friend group and head outside. Eating something the night before may help you prevent a hangover(or at least make it more manageable). I suggest drinking a glass of water and an Advil as a preventative measure. 

My intention with this column is to serve as a big sister to anyone who may be nervous about starting college. Sure, college is daunting and challenging but it’s also liberating, exhilarating, and incredible. Going out is just the tip of the iceberg of fun and no matter how your night ends, be prepared to do it all over again next weekend. 

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Anjali is a freshman studying Journalism at Boston University. She is thrilled to be a new member of the HerCampus team and looks forward to writing more juicy content. In her free time Anjali enjoys journaling, reading poetry, and taking long walks on the beach.