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Due to federal regulations and the State’s need for interstate funding, the age of twenty-one is a monumental birthday for most college students. The newfound freedom of finally being able to drink alcohol legally is something that many have looked forward to. No longer are the nights of house parties where every sip from the red solo cup leaves you with lingering worry that the cops will show up. Not only that, a whole new social atmosphere opens up for you. That being said, many college students have questions about the things they should accomplish when they turn twenty-one. From the drinks to order, the bars to go to and the clothes to wear, I present to you, a survival guide for the newly minted twenty-one year old.

  1. The party

Whether you have just turned twenty-one, or your friend is turning twenty-one, most people want to celebrate with a crazy party. However, life and school doesn’t stop to celebrate even if you want it to. For those whose birthdays fall on weeknights, breaks or nights that just aren't suitable to have a party, feel no pressure to throw a party the second you turn twenty-one. Take some time to have the party at a later date that more people are able to attend. When it comes to the night of your birthday, feel free to have a chill time going downtown with some friends and being in bed in time to wake up for your 8 a.m. chem exam the next morning.

  1. Go at your own pace

Almost every TV show depicts the same night out for someone who just turned twenty-one. Many adults you talk to often recount their wild twenty-first birthdays. When it comes to the big night, you might feel pressure to follow in their footsteps. The truth is, don’t let this pressure to go wild, overshadow the joy of your birthday. Celebrate how YOU want to celebrate even if that means having a wine night or cookie night with friends.

  1. The Low-down on Down town

While we love Clemson with all of our hearts, our downtown is not the most -poppin- downtown there ever was. Even though we have a small selection of bars, each has its own unique personality that we have come to love. Here is an overview of the bars in downtown.

  • Study Hall:  As one of the most popular bars, enjoy their rooftop bar, music and dance floor. Despite many ups and downs, this is one of the most packed bars on game days and Saturday nights. Beware of the cover charge they often enforce at the door.

  • TD’s:  TD’s is great for eating, drinking and chilling in booths and at the bar with friends. Whether it’s a game day or a weeknight, enjoy the food, drinks and live bands are offered.

  • Sushi 356: By day, it’s a sushi restaurant, by night it’s arguably the best place to dance and socialize. Stop by and have a wild night dancing with friends and great drinks.

  • TTT’s: TTT’s is known as the first stop that a twenty-one year old makes on their birthday to get their free t-shirt. Even if you can’t make it on your birthday, they will still give you a t-shirt once you get the chance to stop by. Enjoy pool, trivia and a great atmosphere.

  • Backstreets: As one of the most aesthetically pleasing bars, Backstreets offers great drinks with a chill and grunge atmosphere. Try out the food, pool, darts and enjoy.

  • ITSURWEINER: As one of the newest additions to downtown in recent years, ITSURWEINER, offers some of the best drink deals, especially on litchers (liquor pitchers) on Thursdays.

  • Charleston Sports Bar:  Another new downtown bar, Charleston Sports Bar is perfect for playing games and watching sports. Stop by and enjoy their dollar mimosas on Sundays if you want to as well.

  • Others: Other places to go downtown include, Nick’s, Amicis and The Esso Club. Personally, I haven't been able to go to these just yet but check them out and let me know what you think.

  1. Be a style icon

Despite looking through instagram posts to find out what to wear downtown, it might be hard to figure out the -dress code- downtown. Here is a few tips that I have picked up along the way.

  • Girls (or guys, its 2019 people): First and foremost, wear what makes you comfortable and at your best. Whether that’s a tight dress or a t-shirt, most people won't really judge. However, what I’ve noticed so far is that typically on weeknights, feel free to wear a t-shirt or casual clothes. On Thursday nights many usually wear game day attire minus the jersey. For the weekends, it’s typically a little more dressed up (or dressed down depending on how you look at it) and you often see more girls wearing heels.

  • Guys (or girls, its 2019 people): It’s a little easier and more straight forward for you. Typically a t-shirt, jeans, button down or even a jersey are acceptable for a night out.

For either group, be prepared to wear clothes and shoes that you can sit in, dance in and are willing to have drinks spilled on. If this means putting your Gucci away for the night, you can flex your style in other ways.

  1. General tips

  • Always tip your bartender. They work hard and you really don't want to piss off the person with control over your alcohol.

  • When it comes to waiting in lines to get in, don’t be that person who cuts the line when people have been waiting for a bit to get in.

  • Be open to talking to everyone (if you feel safe). It’s a great chance to meet people that you never usually meet. Downtown won’t be fun if you’re giving death stares to anyone who makes eye contact with you.

  • When paying for drinks for multiple people, at some point in the night, everyone buys a round of drinks for everyone. If a friend is nice enough to get you a drink, return the favor and don’t be that person who mooches off of everyone for free drinks all of the time.

  • Lastly, when it comes to the perfect time to go downtown, you should know that it doesn’t really get busy until midnight on most weekends. Pregame and be patient if you don’t want to be the only one drinking at the bar at 9 p.m..

  1. The new found freedoms

Turning twenty-one is more than just being able to go downtown. Whether its wine nights, going to Ashville for a brewery tour or stopping by the casino, try to mix it up and go to places you might not have thought of before.

  1. Money, money, money

The downside to all of this is that sadly, drinks cost money -gasp-. As someone who doesn't like beer, buying mixed drinks downtown adds up really quickly. The easiest way to not go bankrupt is to try to pregame before the bar, stay away from late night food runs, and take advantage of the many deals they have almost every night downtown for drinks.

  1. Leave no man behind

While you may be having the time of your life going downtown, there is most likely going to be friends who have late birthdays that are home alone, wishing they could party with you. As someone with a later birthday and a best friend with an even later birthday, it’s important to not forget about the brothers that you leave behind when you head downtown. Try not to spend every weekend downtown or at bars. This doesn't mean you have to have a night in either. Go to house parties, restaurants and just be with the people you love. Downtown isn't fun without friends. Try to create a balance between enjoying your non-fake ID and having fun with your younger friends.

For those that aren't twenty-one: We feel for you, we understand how you feel and you are not alone. It’s a very frustrating time period when you’re friends are leaving to go downtown and you’re torn between wanting them to have fun, but feeling like you are missing out. You should know that downtown is only fun when everyone is there to enjoy. While they may come back drunk, describing how much fun it was, just know that they are also counting down the days til your birthday just like you are. Most importantly, don't wish away the rest of your twenties. You only turn twenty-one once, look forward to the fun you'll be having soon. This also means that when it comes time for you to turn twenty-one, you’ll be surrounded by everyone who can give you the most hype birthday yet!

  1. Safety

NEVER drink and drive. With things like Uber and Lyft, there is no reason to risk hurting yourself and others because of drunk driving. It’s much better to leave your car in one of the white spots downtown (this is overnight parking, simply move your car by 8 a.m.) or call a friend to pick you up. Don’t be stupid and get into unnecessary fights over someone accidently spilling a drink. Be nice to the cops, they are just watching out for you, and try not to black out to the point of throwing up. No one wants to be that person throwing up on the sidewalk or having to be carried out by friends. Never leave your drink unattended, even if it’s just for a second, and always let someone know where you are, and who you're with.

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