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It should be a given that weekends should be fun at college, but there’ll always be important rules of thumb to keep in the back of one’s mind.

Once Friday night rolls around — or Thursday night for some — the majority of JMU students have one question on their mind: What’s going down tonight? Saying that JMU has a lively party scene would be an understatement, and its weekends are a perfect indication of that. However, it can all go south quickly if one’s group of party-goers don’t play it safe. With that being said, consider these tips before and during the weekend festivities.

Don’t leave unless you know exactly where you’re going

Addresses always get passed around once the evening commences during the weekend. Going out without having a set destination in mind should never happen. Doing this is a way to set one’s group up for disappointment and getting lost. Along with this, walking up and down streets looking for potential parties almost never goes well. To simply put it, have a party to go to before leaving rather than hoping for the best once you leave..

Carry ID and cash with on you at all times

Carrying a form of identity should be a habit for all, and going out on the weekend is no different. It’s important to keep in mind the possibility of being questioned in some way by law enforcement while one is out, so ensure that no one gets caught without a driver’s permit or license. Along with this, try to keep a debit or credit card at home and carry a reasonable amount of money at all times. Losing a card is never fun, so play it safe and just use cash for an Uber or sober ride.

Never go anywhere alone

A group of reliable friends is almost a requirement for going to parties. Not only should no one be left behind under any circumstances, but no one should be traveling around on foot by themselves. Allowing friends to walk somewhere is just as bad as one walking around by oneself. It doesn’t matter who it is. Everyone is subject to harm in any form, so everyone in a group should be accounted for at all times.

Know your limits

Regardless of what activity one chooses to participate in during the weekend, they should be aware of their body’s limitations and how far they can go with anything. Hurting oneselfboth in the long term and short termis never fun, and there are many substances that could lead to that happening. For one’s sake and the sake of others, do not go overboard with anything and don’t do anything that will be regretted later.

Ensure that you have a good time

Weekends at college should be spent enjoying one’s free time away from classes and homework. Whether that be by oneself or surrounded by people, always do mental check-ins in order to maintain happiness. Everyone’s time is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted doing something one dislikes, so don’t feel obligated to go out all the time. Overall, everyone should be their own top priority.

It should be a given that weekends should be fun at college, but there’ll always be important rules of thumb to keep in the back of one’s mind. The majority of students at JMU have screwed up in some way at least once during their weekend activities, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. No matter how long one has been at JMU, these tips are essential.

Contact Julian Denizard at denizajs@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.