Drinking, in preparation of more drinking, sounds like a great idea to me. It is not uncommon to find students pre-gaming a couple hours before any given party. But what exactly defines the great art of pre-gaming, and why do we do it?

Pre-gaming, as defined by Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, is “the practice of drinking alcohol in a private setting prior to attending an organized event/social activity where alcohol might or might not be served.” I would say that sounds about right – for a bland, technical definition. I would probably define it: “The fun, yet tricky act of trying to get drunk enough before a party without getting too fucked up and passing out.” However you define pre-gaming, we can all agree that it is fun and often necessary.

I consider pre-gaming a necessity for every partygoer for a few reasons. The first is for the under-aged drinkers. Let’s face it: The drinking age of 21 is ridiculous. Almost every other country in the world has a lower drinking age than us, and no one here wants to follow it. Students are then forced to drink with a few close friends in their dorm rooms or apartments before going out. We do this out of fear for not finding alcohol or an inability to purchase it once we go out.

Now what about those of us fortunate enough to legally purchase booze? We pre-party for the same fear of not finding booze once we arrive at a party, but also for another reason. Going out to bars and clubs is fucking expensive. Beers can cost about $5, and a mixed drink can cost around $10. If I went to a bar sober, it would cost me almost $100 to get drunk, including the tip. Why not spend $10 to 20 and buy an entire 30 pack or handle of some cheap shit and pre-game with a few friends?

Whether you’re of legal age or not, another reason we pre-game is because it’s fun. In fact, sometimes pre-gaming can be more fun than the main event. A few games of beer pong, snappa or king’s cup can be a great way to start the night off right, and if the night is a bust, you can come back and post-game too.

One of my favorite pre-gaming games is “We chant your name while you do a handle pull.” This game is a great way to pump each other up and get drunk. Play this game with caution though, because the alcohol really sneaks up on you when you drink straight from the bottle. The worst fear of the avid pre-gamer is pre-gaming too hard and passing out before the main event. I’ll never forget when I missed an open bar banquet I had paid $40 for because I drank too many pitchers of beer and handle pulls of cheap gin.

A way to combat the sneaking drunk that leaves a pre-gamer passed out at 8 p.m. on a Friday night is to keep track of your drinks. When your group of pre-gamers gets together, grab a sharpie and mark each shot or beer you consume with a tally mark on your arm. This can be surprisingly fun, especially if you bring the sharpie with you and keep track all night. Be careful when you do this. For example, a few friends and I decided to pre-game all day. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday my freshman year. We decided to drink a bunch and then go to the FT pool, swim for a bit, then change and go to a party. I woke up the next morning with 35 tally marks on my arm and no recollection of the previous day or night. My friends were in the same condition. I would say limit yourself to no more than 10 before heading out, but ultimately, it is pretty relative to each pre-gamers drinking ability.

Pre-gaming is a great way to loosen up before a party. Pre-game because it’s cheaper and more fun. Remember, we’re Gauchos – we pre-game harder than most people party!