Ah, the warm burn of a shot of Bankers’ finest, the chilled–out music that you actually like to listen to, the familiar faces of your closest friends—these are the dreams that pregames are made of. That innocuous time of night when you can come together with your inner circle and just relax before a night out. But perhaps it's time that we stop and think about this cultural phenomenon for just a second.

On the surface a good way to meet up with friends before a night out, pregames seem to be symptomatic of some greater issues here at Penn. Why is it that we feel a need to drink excessively when we're already with our friends? Slamming three shots before heading to a party where you are going to take at least three more shots is not a healthy way to navigate any situation—and here it’s not just normalized, but almost requisite. Don’t get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with hanging out with some friends before a night out, but to the degree that we feel compelled to binge–drink before any social event here at Penn is, well, a little ridiculous. Do we really need a social lubricant at 9 p.m.?

The issue with pregaming isn’t the pregame itself; it’s the function they serve. Alcohol provides a way to numb social pressure at Penn, which can be so difficult to traverse sober. Taking several shots before going out means that we can turn down our brains—which are always on and overanalyzing—and just live out the night. We use pregaming as a primer for social interaction, to dull ourselves and make the nightlife here palatable.

Self–medicating with alcohol before you can bear to see anyone you tangentially know is, well, kinda really bad. This is not a healthy coping mechanism.

Let’s take the pregame back to what it should be, what the frat stars conceived it as. Let’s use this as a time to chill, relax, unpack the week with our friends, and catch up with each other before heading out for the night. Maybe instead of slamming back drink after drink, buy a bottle of the cheapest, sweetest pinot from FroGro, listen to Melodrama, and rant about your romantic life (or lack thereof) to your friend. Slow down a little, you’ll get to the function when you get there. 

Now work off all that pent–up energy you have from sitting in Van Pelt all week, and maybe talk to your friends while you're at it too.