Rules of Thumb: A Guide to Surviving the Best Experimental Years of Your Young Adult Life

By Amanda Barnard

I recently went to the US border and during the process of renewing my Nexus passport the Canadian border officer gave me three valuable tips that I’d like to share with you. We have reached the experimental phase in our young adult lives and with that comes responsibility. A number of us now have our drivers licence and are legally adults within Canada. However fun the partying becomes, there are always risks associated with it. I don’t know about you, but I would love to party and ensure that I’m not going to jail. Here are three extremely valuable rules to live by when it comes to partying within Canada and when crossing the United Sates border.

Always put your alcohol in a locked cooler in your trunk:

            You may be confused or think that this is completely absurd. However let me propose a situation to you all. You and your friends have decided to have sangria night over at one of their houses. Because let’s face it, you all think it’s a super mature thing to do, but you know that you’ll all be wrecked halfway through the night. Your job is to pick up some alcohol at the SAQ. However, the SAQ no longer gives out bags with your purchase. You get back to your car and put the bottle in the passenger seat, thinking nothing of it. After all, it’s definitely more convenient for you to take the bottles from the passenger seat when you arrive at your friend’s house; you lazy millennial. However, on your way to your friend’s house you get into an accident, because of course what else can go wrong on your precious sangria night –besides you desperately needed this, instead of studying for all of your finals coming up. The bottles have broken and your car now smells of alcohol, fantastic. Because you are in such critical condition and are being rushed to the hospital your car is left in the hands of the police. When they inspect your car it will be full of broken glass and will reek of booze. Even though you were not driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be charged for such and will suffer the consequences that ensue. Therefore buying that lockable cooler is definitely something in your interest, as you really don’t know what can happen when it comes to driving on the road.

Never cross the border with someone you don’t trust:

There are so many weekend trips that are advertised on bulletins around school campuses or on websites. A weekend hiking with some strangers in Vermont doesn’t seem like a terrible idea when they’re friendly and offer accommodations, and most importantly, the ride up to your destination. Not all of us have our drivers licence yet and hopping into a car with new friends or even mere strangers who share your common interests doesn’t seem all that bad. However, I do have another splendid anecdote for you. A group of girls decided to go to Plattsburg for the weekend. They used one of the girls brother’s car since none of them had a car yet. Long story short, they were stopped for a random search and a bag of cocaine was found under the backseat of the car. The drugs did not belong to any of the girls. Despite this, they were all charged with attempting to smuggle drugs across an international border. It was later discovered by the group of girls that the drugs did not belong to the brother but the brother’s friend. He had hid his drugs under the backseat of the car when the police had closed down Saint Catherine for a random drug check. Moral of this terrifyingly unfortunate story: do not cross the border with anyone that you do not trust (and don’t do cocaine).

Thirdly, for the love of God, please don’t drink as a minor in the United States:

            You’re over eighteen by now, maybe farther down the line and closer to 21. However, just because you are used to drinking in Québec (vive le Québec) does not mean that you can ‘accidentally’ drink in the United States. Another tale of the misfortunate reveals a 19-year-old girl spending the weekend with her parents in Ohio at a state fair. She sets a blanket out for herself and her parents and opens the bottle of wine she bought at customs. She takes a glass out of the picnic bag for herself thinking nothing of it. Although a police comes over, as all seem to do in these regrettable situations, and charges her parents for condoning under age drinking. Not only is it a terrible time for her parents its also one for her, after all her glass was taken away from her. So as we conclude the third and final misadventure, I remind you once again, no matter how tempting that beautiful bottle of prosecco may be, do not drink in the United States unless you are legally twenty-one years old.


            Although I have portrayed these delightful stories to you, they are not to be taken lightly. These are true stories and they could happen to you too. Stay safe and keep these three rules of thumb in mind when entering into situations that are similar to these.




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