It’s a cycle as ingrained into us as peeing when we wake up. On a typical weekend afternoon, say Friday or Tuesday, you start to wonder what you’re drinking that night. If you’re underage, you start calling older friends to line up a run. If you’re of age, you try to figure out what you can buy at S.O.S. with laundry quarters. Around 7 or 8 p.m., it’s time to start pre-partying because you want to be sufficiently saucy when you start hitting parties at 10. After wandering around for a few hours, drinking and dancing, things wind down. You head home, hopefully have sex, and pass out.

Sounds a bit lame on paper, doesn’t it? Of course, I don’t want to de-legitimatize such a basic process. It’s something we’ve all been taught from the first time we got blasted off the out-of-town parents’ liquor stash; it’s the true schedule of partying. Yet as your collegiate career slowly turns into one long weekend, the nights can really start to blend together. We’ll all have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the drudgery of a nine-to-five job making the years disappear after college. Partying shouldn’t be work. It should be awesome.

What it comes down to is a question of whether or not you want to sprint to shitfaced. Sure, it’s more than possible to get tumbling drunk in an hour or so. Ripping a bunch of shots in 10 minutes will do the trick, too. But drinking that quickly is a major reason people ended up blacking out, passing out or puking on someone else’s nipples. When you have the tolerance of a 60-year-old Russian mechanic, as a large proportion of the people I know do, the task of speed drinking involves serious work.

The key, then, is to change up your drinking habits. Start partying earlier or go later: All the cool kids know that the real party begins after 2 a.m., and with the lovely weather we’ve got these days, afternoons are ripe for alcohol-fueled adventure. Rather than aggressively pre-partying with your roommates, gather a crew together early on to mix things up. Then, when the parties and bars start to shut down at 2 (or midnight in this legislation-addled town) take the whole shebang somewhere for an after-party. I guarantee that putting in an overtime shift while partying will result in good stories, and with that much time available to chat up someone cute, your chances of watching the sun rise while fondling someone at the beach go up immensely.

To go the distance, switch up your boozing routine. If you were to chart your drunk, it should look like an S-curve (or, for you bio nerds, a K-selection graph), with the upper limit being the point at which you are past blaquephaded. Ideally, you should start off mellow, marinating in some beer while laying down a base coat of booze to prep you for the night. Once you start hitting parties, the curve becomes steeper as you start doing keg stands and pounding Taaka with whomever you find attractive. Finally, as things get late, ease back with some casual Joose or champagne and keep having fun as the sky begins to brighten.

Before the chancellor, concerned parents and IVFP furiously begin writing letters of disgust regarding my apparent encouragement of students become becoming 84-hour-a-week alcoholics, I must say that it isn’t necessarily realistic to spend your time continually working yourself in and out of a long, smooth drunk – although it has been done. But at the same time, if your party routine is so set in stone that you can’t distinguish one night out from another, you’re missing out on the whole point of getting shithammered in the first place. The difference between an average night and one worthy of a title (“The Broom Guitar Night,” for example) is simply a matter of putting in the effort to make it memorable, and breaking out of the party cycle will help you do that. And please, just don’t pass out.