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FROSH 2023: Vices and harm reduction on campus

By Julieanne Acosta & Ramiro Bustamante Torres, September 5 2023—

University is a new stage in your life and you can get carried away easily if you’re not careful. While you should try new things and broaden your horizons, it’s important to be aware that not everything is for everyone and the best policy is trusting your gut. You shouldn’t feel pressured to do anything that you don’t want to do or don’t feel safe doing. We’re not going to say don’t do it since you already have or probably will — all we ask is that you make an informed decision, be safe and have fun.


Going to that upcoming party and taking shots with your friends sounds like fun, but showing up to class drunk or hungover is not. If you’re going to drink, maybe don’t aim to get blackout drunk or have something that’ll make you puke. If you’ve never had a drink before showing up to university, make sure you do it around people you’re safe with and start small. Always see your drink getting made when ordering from a bar and don’t leave it unattended. Unfortunately, getting roofied — a.k.a. getting a drug slipped in your drink that impairs you — is a real possibility and it could happen to anyone. Don’t drink and drive, get a designated driver or call an Uber — even transit is an option. Drinking can lead to making bad decisions, either e-mailing your professor that they gotta chill with the marking or trying to do backflips at Denny’s parking lot. One will leave you embarrassed while the other one can lead to serious injuries. 


Similar to alcohol, drugs can quickly take a turn for the worse if you’re not careful. If you’re new to drugs, there’s no reason for you to attempt to keep up with your friends who may have had more experience with it. Especially if it is your first time taking drugs, remember that your body will not react the same as others. Just because you saw your friend have the ride of their life on drugs does not mean the same will happen to you. Reactions are incredibly dependent on the circumstances surrounding the individual and the mental state someone is in before taking drugs. If you are going to try drugs, it can make a whole world of difference if you do it in a safe environment with people you trust. If you and a group of friends are planning on doing drugs, have one designated person to remain sober and watch everyone to ensure safety. Make sure to grab a Naloxone kit from the U of C’s Student Wellness Services and at participating pharmacies in your community. These kits are free and can save a life in an event of an opioid overdose. 

Weed & smoking

Yes, weed is legal now and everyone is doing it so why shouldn’t you? For starters, if you’re taking cannabis recreationally, it’s prohibited on campus — in your dorm, in your car in the parking lot or in class. Medically authorized cannabis can be taken at specifically designated smoking areas. Talking about smoking, if you are to smoke, please go to the designated smoking areas. Whether it’s a cigarette, an electric cigarette or a vape, you must do it outdoors and away from any entrance, window, ventilation and flammable materials. You’re allowed to try them outside of campus as long as you follow government laws. If you’ve never done either, consider looking into your family history of addiction or reaction to drugs since everyone can react differently. Don’t feel peer-pressured to do any of it and always get your hit from a reputable source because you never know what could be in it, no matter what your dealer says.


Please do not have sex on campus unless it is behind a locked door in a room in residence — otherwise, you can wait. Always remember that verbal consent between the two parties is mandatory. If you’re engaging with a new partner, always use a condom to protect yourself from unwanted consequences such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Free condoms can also be found at the Q Centre or the SU desk in MacHall. 


Arguably the holy grail of university life. You’ll find a wide variety of coffee around the campus and it’s on you to decide which you deem good and which ones you will never try again. The classics, however, consist of Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Brew & Blendz. Tim Hortons will always be the cheaper option but you risk being late to your next class due to the obscenely long lines. Starbucks on the other hand will always be pricey and will have you waiting in line for at least ten minutes — but something about having a little Starbies drink in hand makes this lose-lose situation all worth it. Lastly, if you want something different from those two, Brew & Blendz has you covered. Unlucky for you newcomers, their location in the Kinesiology building is now closed but the one in Scurfield Hall is still going strong. 

Wasting time

You’re going to hear the P word a lot at university and it’s best to face the music rather than face an email saying you’re on academic probation. Procrastination can happen to anyone and it’s a sure sign that you’re not enjoying what you are doing. If you’re struggling to find motivation, try to redefine your goals and ask yourself why you are doing this and if it aligns with what you really want to help you assert your motivation. University is a time to try new things and meet new people, but you are paying thousands of dollars for this education and you’ll end up paying more if you start letting your grades slip. So make a friend in class and keep each other accountable, talk more with your professors or even make completing your assignments into a game if that helps. Now if you’re finding yourself struggling to the point you do receive the dreaded email, not all hope is lost. The university offers the Academic Turnaround Program (ATP) which helps students raise their GPA to be in good academic standing.

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