I neglected to say goodbye to anyone, and I was seen kissing the aforementioned guy outside the bar by a couple of my future classmates who probably assume that sex followed, even though it didn’t. They basically ignored me and walked by, despite the fact that they were people I had somewhat befriended earlier in the evening (although I did sort of ditch them). I guess what I want to know is: how likely is it that my reputation will be damaged by this, given people’s tendency to gossip? Am I doomed to being “that girl” — the slutty one who goes home with a relative stranger after a few hours and too many shots (insert feminist rant about double standards here — I definitely know it’s unfair)? How can I recover, if I can at all? Am I completely over-thinking this? I want to be confident and own what I did by considering that a lot of people might have done the same after too many drinks, but I don’t know how. I feel slightly ashamed and embarrassed, since I have no way of knowing if and what my future colleagues thought about what happened. I know that even if I had had sex, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but despite all these self-assurances, I’m more than a little distraught. I’m worried this will negatively affect my assimilation into school, my ability to make friends, and even my career. Any advice? — The New Student
Are you seriously worried that you getting drunk at a new student college party and getting caught making out with a random guy afterward might affect your future career? Like, really? I mean, I guess there are schools where this kind of behavior might be frowned upon, but it’s hard to imagine that even at those schools your career would be jeopardized by such PG behavior. And since you don’t mention your school being an uber-religious one, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that yes, you are definitely over-thinking this; your “future colleagues” probably couldn’t care less that you had a few shots and kissed a boy. They were probably too busy drinking a few shots themselves and looking for people to kiss to notice any of your pretty tame shenanigans.
Unless you and the aforementioned guy got caught, like, having public sex in the quad at midnight, I wouldn’t worry another minute that anyone is giving this incident a second thought — or, frankly, even a first thought — or that your reputation is damaged beyond control or that your future career is in jeopardy. Unless the “professional” part of your professional school is a “professional nunnery,” I’d say you’re pretty much in the clear, dear. ENJOY this time in your life when having a few too many drinks at a party is your biggest concern. There will come a day — all too soon, probably — when you’ll long for those times, nostalgically (God, especially when you start experiencing a 30-something hangover).