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Know Your Line

know your line sunset

College offers a lot of opportunities for fun and socializing - many of which include opportunities to drink alcohol - but not everyone chooses to drink. Whether you're going out to 6th Street, hanging out in a friend's West Campus apartment, going to a party in Riverside, or attending a fraternity event, knowing how to party safely is the key to maintaining the right balance between fun and school that will help you succeed at UT.

Who Drinks?

Many students who do choose to drink do so moderately, defined as 4 or fewer drinks per occasion. The more drinks a person has, the more likely they are to experience negative consequences like blacking out, throwing up, forgetting where they were or what they did, or getting separated from their friends.

In the 2012 National College Health Assessment survey conducted by UHS, 77% of female and 60% of male UT students said they drink moderately or not at all. Choosing to drink moderately or not drink at all is associated with higher GPA. Of UT students who report an A GPA, only 37% usually drink 5 or more drinks, as compared to 43% of B students. Students who binge drink - defined as having 5 or more drinks in a sitting - are more likely to experience negative consequences, like poor academic performance, than students who don't. do you know your line?

How Do I Know My Line?

For students who choose to drink, we have four tips for partying smart and safe.

  1. Set a limit. Keeping your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) below .05 can help you feel the good effects of alcohol without experiencing the negative consequences. Figure out how many drinks will get you to that level and don't exceed your limit by having too many or drinking too quickly. You can explore how different types of alcohol and your gender, height, and weight affect your blood alcohol content (BAC) using B4UDrink, an interactive tool from the Century Council.
  2. Eat, drink water, and be merry. One way to help slow down your body's absorption of alcohol is by eating before and while you are drinking. Alternating water or other non-caffeinated drinks with alcohol is another important way to avoid negative consequences of drinking. This will also help you avoid being pressured to drink by people who see you without something in your hand - they won't know that your cup has water with lime and not a vodka tonic.
  3. Exercise portion control. A "standard drink" is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of liquor, but lots of college students drink alcohol in containers or quantities that makes it hard to know how much alcohol you're really consuming. A red plastic cup can hold as much as 22 ounces, so it's best to pour a can of beer into your cup or measure your liquor rather than just filling up. And ice is your friend! Adding ice to your cup helps ensure you aren't overdoing it on the alcohol portion of your drink.
  4. Have a plan. If you're going out with friends, make a plan for how you're going to get home. If you'll be walking, make sure you have a friend to walk back with. If you're driving, either be the designated sober driver yourself or ride with someone who has stayed sober all night. Your designated driver should be sober, not just the least intoxicated person in your group. If you are going downtown, you can share a taxi with friends or take the E-Bus for free with your UT ID.

We hope you have a great time at UT and that if you choose to drink, you use these tips to help you Know Your Line and stay safe.

Know Your Line On Gamedays

Longhorn football fans come early, cheer loud, and stay late. Staying hydrated during the game keeps you cool when the weather is hot and helps you know your line. You can bring an empty, reusable water bottle with you to the football stadium and fill it at a water fountain so you can stay hydrated. For more information about Darrell K. Royal Stadium, click here

About Know Your Line:

Know Your Line is a campaign from University Health Services to help students who choose to drink alcohol reduce the risk that they will experience negative consequences associated with drinking. Know Your Line aims to promote the fact that the majority of UT students drink moderately. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get connected and learn more.

About the National College Health Assessment: UHS conducts this survey each year to get a representative snapshot of a variety of student behaviors. In 2012, we received 1,208 responses from a representative sample of students from all UT colleges and schools.