We’ve all been there: the fourth quarter hangover. One minute you’re in euphoria, cheering the team on incoherently with 100-plus of your closest peers, watching Justin Jackson rush down the field dressed in a ridiculously purple outfit. Time passes, and then, bam, you’re stone-cold sober with a pounding headache, dragging yourself to the shuttle (struggle) bus back to campus and avoiding the judgemental stare of the bus driver. You’re hungover, and you’re stuck. What do you do? Our scientists at NBN studied this phenomenon to deliver you the best course of action.
Step 1: Make your chasers do the work for you.
Northwestern students have so many resources for game day that they neglect and, instead, go for the flat Coke that’s been sitting on a plastic tailgating table for hours to accompany their hard backyard booze. This is where the unpleasantness of tailgating begins; your mixed drink is a room temperature mess, and you can taste the Skol in your bloodstream after two shots. Don’t fret Wildcats, as plenty of Evanston establishments have you covered. If you have a meal plan, steal some orange juice from the dining hall to bring with you; it’s packed with Vitamin C (Northwestern plague, anyone?) and keeps you hydrated almost as well as water. My favorite drink hack is a Strawberry Letter from Peeled – delicious on its own, and a wonderful stand-in if you missed breakfast. Any refresher from Starbucks is also clutch for turning bland, hard alcohol into a chilled, fruity cocktail.
Step 2: Know your (mixed drink) options.
If you’re looking to forget who Fitz is by the third quarter, the giant handle of vodka featured at every tailgate is a go. But if you’re looking to be just tipsy enough that you almost fall off the bleachers every ten minutes – but don’t, and have a jolly good time instead, try to drink from the wine bag or the cooler. Most hosts will pre-mix drinks that are strong but not deadly, our researchers have found. And, if you’re just a social drinker and want to sip on something casually, bring your own mixers (see above) or go all-American and grab a beer (but don’t make it four).
Step 3: FOOD, Glorious Food.
One of the BEST ways you can treat yo’self on a drunken escapade to Welsh-Ryan stadium is by feeding yourself. Sometimes tailgates will do the work for you and make hot dogs and burgers; other times, you’ll have to invest in some chicken nuggets or a hot pretzel at the stadium. If you have a meal plan, life hack: BUYING LUNCH AT THE STADIUM COUNTS AS A MEAL! Amazing. Thanks for watching out for us tailgaters, Northwestern. If you don’t have a meal plan, befriend some underclassman who feels sorry for you to get you lunch, or just use the money you would’ve spent at Nevin’s next week to fill your stomach with stadium food today. This way hard alcohol won’t get lonely sloshing around in your stomach.
Step 4: When all else fails, be your own mom.
Your stomach is turning, the stadium lights seem WAY more obnoxious than they did before and the people behind you are rolling their eyes at your slurred chanting. Do you stay at the game or do you go? You always go, unless Northwestern is tied with Stanford again. It’s free for students so you’re not wasting money, the shuttle buses are free and whisk you away to practically your doorstep no matter where you live, and you’ve (hopefully) made it through half the game anyway. Getting sick at a football game should not be on your Northwestern bucket list unless you have a thing against risk management. Do yourself (and the stadium employees who would have to take care of your sloppiness) a favor and watch the game at home. Be responsible. I know, I know, it’s hard. Ask your roommate or friend to bring you home, grab some Cheesie’s on the way back to nourish that hangover stomach ache and start planning your debauchery for the next home game.