F&B Special No. 5 ‘Pre-planning’ **PRINT ONLY**

Head: How to prep for a night out

Sub: A little planning goes a long way

When it comes to going out, spontaneity is overrated. Spontaneity is what leads to half-done homework, blistered heels and hangovers. A little planning, though, can go a long way in ensuring your night is fun, safe and stress-free.

Do your homework beforehand. Nothing ruins the fun of a night out like an assignment hanging over your head. Try to finish your homework early and beat that 11:59 p.m. deadline so you can enjoy your evening without worrying about whether or not your work is going to be late.

Eat something if you’re just going out for drinks. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is a bad idea. Period. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol, so make sure you fill up before you go out if you don’t plan on buying food with your drinks.

Do yourself a favor and dress comfortably. Yes, heels may tie your outfit together perfectly and add desired inches to a short frame. They may even boost your confidence and make you feel like a million bucks. But how long does that feeling last before the inevitable ache of balancing on the balls of your feet makes you wince and rue the day you ever strapped on those toe box torture devices? Do yourself a favor and opt for flats instead. And while you’re at it, grab a jacket to throw on. There’s nothing worse than walking through the city at night in a short-sleeved dress or top when it’s windy and cold. 

Research where you want to go. This is especially important if your group consists of both drinking-age adults and minors. You don’t want to wind up at a 21-and-up bar when one of your friends is just shy of being legal. Plan ahead so you don’t leave anyone out or find yourselves wandering around the city looking for an inclusive bar.

Assign a designated driver. You don’t want to end up desperately searching for an Uber that isn’t there or —much worse — getting behind the wheel of a car after you’ve been drinking. If you don’t have a clear and safe alternative plan to get home (public transportation, a friend picking you up, etc.), you should always have a designated driver with you to make sure you and your friends get home safely.

Have fun, but keep your wits about you and keep an eye on your buddies. Know your drinking limits, stay alert and don’t let your guard down. Keep tabs on your friends, especially if they go past their drinking limits. Read up on how to be an active bystander on Grand Valley State University’s Victim’s Rights and Options webpage, and don’t let your friends leave with strangers if they are too intoxicated to give consent. If you are the designated driver of your group, make sure you deliver everyone safely to their final respective destinations. In addition, if you think you or your friends may be suffering from alcohol poisoning, call 911.