Navigating Networking: How to Handle Happy Hour

Networking can be a critical component of career development and wellness, especially for graduate and professional students. However, the idea of networking can sometimes lead to anxiety or uncertainty about expectations. Check out these strategies for encouraging meaningful conversation and relationship-building in order to effectively navigate professional networking events such as happy hour, dinners, receptions and more.   

  • Set your intention. Frame the event as an opportunity to meet new people. Try to focus on authentic relationship-building rather than viewing making connections as a transactional process. 
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others. 
  • If you are nervous about what to say, brainstorm topics and questions for conversation-starters beforehand. Check out this list of 150 conversation-starters compiled by Indeed for inspiration. 
  • If you are attending a recruitment-based networking event, practice your introduction and elevator speech. Be sure to highlight your background, qualifications, relevant experience, and passions, as well as what type of role you are looking for.  
  • Be mindful of the setting of the networking event, as well as company culture. If you are attending a more casual event with only your shared industry, your introduction and conversation may look different than it would at a large recruitment networking event. You can modify your elevator speech to adapt to the context. For example, while you can rely on technical terms and insider knowledge when meeting others in similar professions, you may need to offer more details about what your work entails for people outside of your field. 
  • Express interest and ask people about themselves. Be curious! 
  • Follow up with the people you meet. You can send an email, note, message, or simply request to connect on LinkedIn. 
  • Remind yourself that you belong and have meaningful contributions to offer. Networking is about fostering a mutual relationship, and the people you meet gain something from your connection – and vice versa! 
  • If you experience social anxiety, try to go with a supportive colleague or utilize other coping mechanisms like deep breathing or grounding exercises during the event. 
  • If it helps, you can always go into the event with a reason and time to leave in mind. 

If you are attending an office happy hour or networking event where alcohol is served, you do not have to drink unless you want to. Additionally, you should not feel pressured to disclose the reason why you are choosing not to drink.  

People choose not to drink alcohol for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: 

  • Religious beliefs or values 
  • Medication 
  • Living in Recovery 
  • Dietary restrictions 
  • Disliking the taste of alcohol 
  • Personal preference or choice 
  • Cost of alcohol 
  • Pregnancy or other health conditions 
  • Other responsibilities and commitments 

If you feel that you are not comfortable attending a career-related function involving alcohol for any reason, it is always okay to set healthy boundaries and choose not to attend the event. There will be other opportunities to connect, and your wellbeing comes first.  

If you do choose to drink, avoid drinking on an empty stomach and stay hydrated throughout the event. Pace yourself and know your limits. In professional contexts it is best to err on the side of caution. If it helps, you can set a drink limit for yourself. For example, plan to order a maximum of 2 drinks during the event. Similarly, you can pace yourself by drinking 1-2 glasses of water between alcoholic beverages or waiting a certain amount of time between ordering drinks. For example, one drink per hour.  

It can also be helpful to be more mindful and aware of the types of alcohol you consume at an office happy hour or networking event. Take into consideration the alcohol content. Your drink order at an office happy hour event may differ from what you would order during a night out with friends. Finally, be sure to have a safe and reliable ride home arranged. 

For additional tips, resources, and support relating to networking, check out Buckeye Careers for career coaching, workshops, and more!  

References & Recommended Readings: 

-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant 

Recovery and Support: Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorder 

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, nearly 50% of those struggling with eating disorders also struggle with substance abuse (5 times higher than the general population) and approximately 30-35% of those with substance misuse disorders also suffer from eating disorders (11 times higher than the general population). 

While the two diseases may seem entirely unrelated, both conditions are, at their core, coping mechanisms to escape pain, anxiety, or sadness. Both disorders provide temporary “escapes” from whatever may be plaguing the sufferer, but these behaviors ultimately become all-consuming, and compulsive. 

Similarly, eating disorders and substance misuse disorders share many of the same risk factors: brain chemistry, family history, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social factors (National Eating Disorder Association).  

There are notable differences between eating disorders and substance misuse disorders, including the traditional treatment plans of both. For substance misuse disorders, abstinence from substances is considered the most effective plan of treatment. This is considered a “power over” approach to recovery. Additionally, many substance misuse recovery communities instruct the individual to claim the disease as an identity.  

On the other hand, eating disorder recovery focuses on moderating overcontrol and normalizing eating patterns (one cannot be “abstinent” from eating,) which is called a “power with” approach to recovery. Moreover, treatment almost always focuses on shifting the patient’s identity away from the disease.  

Furthermore, substance misuse disorders are characterized as chronic, non-curable medical illnesses, while eating disorders are conceptualized as curable psychiatric illnesses. 

Recovery from both eating disorders and substance misuse is possible, although patients who struggle with both may want to consider comprehensive, parallel treatment that recognizes the link between the two conditions and treats both together. Studies have shown better long-term recovery outcomes for patients who struggle with both ED and SUD when the two are treated together.  

However, these kinds of integrated treatment programs are rare (only 16% of the 351 publicly funded treatment programs for drug abuse also offer eating disorder treatment), and this disparity often leaves patients to seek treatment for the two conditions separately. Medical and psychiatric professionals are urging treatment centers to offer more comprehensive treatment options for the many people suffering from this comorbidity.  

For Ohio State students, there are many free and low cost Disordered Eating and Substance Misuse support resources at Ohio State including: Nutrition CoachingCounseling and Consultation Services, and the Eating Concerns Consultation Team as well as the Collegiate Recovery Community and the Wexner Medical Center Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Services. 

 -Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center

Prescription to addiction: the slippery slope 

If you’ve been on a college campus long enough, you’ll know that alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use is no hidden affair. What many don’t see though, are the high rates of illicit prescription drug use among 18-25 year old’s. (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Even in the case of a legitimate prescription for opioids from a physician, these adolescents are still at greater risk of future opioid misuse, regardless of having no prior history of drug use. It ranges from taking your friend’s prescribed Adderall before an exam to popping oxycodone or Xanax at a party. The problem with prescription drugs, especially opioids, is that the user builds a tolerance and needs more and more of the same drug to feel the high. This is not a cheap habit to maintain, and as all of us college students know, the last thing we have lying around is excess money. The cheap alternative that fuels the user’s dependence next is the street drug heroin, which is more potent than almost any prescription opioid you can find and has a much higher mortality rate. In as little as two years, between 2010 and 2012, “the mortality rate from heroin overdose doubled in 28 states” (Ross, 2016). I know what you’re thinking: you’ve never seen anyone use or even talk about using heroin! According to a study conducted between 2011 and 2014 however, on average nineteen new users were introduced to the drug each day; that is 133 new college users each week (NSDUH). Using opioids is not ‘glamorous’ nor normalized like drinking or smoking weed which is why it is not put on display. Fortunately, all hope is not lost and through public education and preventive programs, we can combat this epidemic. The best choice you, as an Ohio State student can make is to stay away from all opioids and illegal prescription use as whole. If you are prescribed medication from your physician, take only the amount you are prescribed and talk to your health care professional about potential for misuse and abuse. Here at Ohio State, the Collegiate Recovery Community is a group that serves students in or seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. There is no shame in seeking support and you can learn more at 


Sania Hussain, Wellness Ambassador 

How Your Drug Use Habits Might Affect Your Susceptibility to COVID-19 

Some view college as an acceptable time to learn about yourself and experiment with your environment (yes, I’m talking about drugs). However, it might be important to consider how your personal experiments or habits effect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know washing your hands, wearing a mask, and social distancing can help to reduce your chance of contracting COVID-19, but with potential asymptomatic carriers on a campus of nearly 50,000 people, COVID-19 is tough to evade.  

If you have done your research and have made the personal decision to try certain substances or if you suffer from addiction, we need to discuss the adverse health effects drug use may induce and how that relates to the current pandemic. Some of these adverse health effects may result in predisposing conditions, which make people more susceptible to things like COVID-19 and is therefore typically associated with severe cases. Predisposing conditions are things like cancer, COPD, heart conditions, type I and II diabetes, asthma, hypertension, liver disease, and immunocompromised individuals (Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness 2020). Please note, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that it is inconclusive if drug use is associated with higher occurrence of COVID-19, but I believe this information may be a beneficial perspective to students on our campus when making individualized and informed decisions on drug use (People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder 2020). Opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, heroin, and fentanyl are known to interfere with our breathing mechanism. Even without COVID-19, this can result in slow and ineffective breathing leading to decreased oxygen in the blood, which can result in brain damage. Stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamine, and ketamine are associated with stroke, heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and can cause long term heart and lung damage. Smoking raises your risk of infection, can cause COPD, hypertension, asthma, and other lung conditions. With smoking, it is also important to be aware that sharing inhaled products like vapes, glassware, cigarettes, and joints/blunts can result in transmission of COVID-19. Furthermore, diseases like HIV and hepatitis are common among intravenous drug users and prevent the immune system from fighting off infection to its fullest potential (People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder 2020).  

For each example above, it is clear that side effects from these substances might not allow your body to defend itself to its fullest potential. A definitive relationship between drug use and severe COVID-19 cases is unclear at the moment, but studies have already begun and as the pandemic continues to unravel, more evidence will be uncovered. As a fellow OSU student, I hope this information helps you to better navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and empowers you to be well! 

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please refer to resources below for help: 

-Rachel Ernst 

5 things to do around Columbus…Without Drinking 

For some college students there is a lot of pressure to go out drinking just to fit in. While alcohol can be consumed safely in moderation it can cause negative consequences such as poor academic performance, mental health problems, and legal trouble if underage. Instead of buckling under the pressure to go out drinking, try exploring Columbus instead! There are so many great opportunities in this city! Make sure to check to see if D-tix has any promotions available prior to going.

  1. The Columbus Zoo: The Columbus Zoo has everything from lions to penguins to see. You can even get the opportunity to feed a giraffe. The zoo is a great place to walk around with your friends and explore the wildlife that our world has to offer.  

  2. The Center of Science and Industry (COSI): COSI is a science center that provides hands-on-fun activities related to all things sciences, engineering, technology, etc. COSI has a plethora of exhibits related to things such as the ocean, space, and dinosaurs. This is a great place to visit for people of all backgrounds and ages!

  3. Otherworld: Otherworld is a 32,000-square foot art installation in Columbus. It has over 40 rooms where you can explore large-scale interactive art, mixed reality playgrounds, and secret passageways. It is a surreal world mixed with science fiction and fantasy that you can freely explore!
  4. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is Central Ohio’s premier botanical garden. It consists of a variety of botanical biomes, lush gardens, special horticulture, and art exhibitions for you to explore. The even have many seasonal exhibitions such as Orchids and a crowd favorite, Blooms & Butterflies 

  5. North Market: North Market is ranked as one of the top public markets in the country. It is home to Ohio’s best independent merchants, farmers, and makers. You can eat, drink, shop and enjoy the best of what’s local, fresh, and authentic.

 If you’re interested in exploring your substance use the Student Wellness Center offers a variety of alcohol and other prevention and recovery support services. Learn more by visiting the website

-Rachel Brackman, Alcohol Education Wellness Ambassador 

Think Twice Before Pouring Yourself a “Quarantini” 

Virtual classes, mandatory student COVID testing, masks, and hand sanitizing are strong efforts in the fight against COVID-19, but students must also consider their individual drinking habits at home and among peers. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have published information to the public suggesting the avoidance of excessive drinking as it may be associated with higher severity and contraction rates of COVID-19.  

According to the NIAAA, “alcohol in the body at the time of exposure to a pathogen tends to impair the body’s immediate immune response to the pathogen making it easier for an infection to develop.” Furthermore, long-term alcohol misuse leads to impairment of immune cells that line the respiratory tract allowing SARS-CoV-2 virus particles easier admittance into the lungs as well as increased probability of developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), where fluid collects in the lungs. COVID-19 contraction occurring for those diagnosed with ARDS is associated with a need for mechanical ventilation, extended stays in the ICU and higher risks of death. Research from Yale Medicine also suggests that heavy social drinking and binge drinking causes changes within cytokines (proteins that carry out the immune response) and function suppression of bone marrow, which produces disease fighting white blood cells.  

Students must watch their drinking habits as it not only affects the body’s immune response if COVID-19 contraction occurs, but also increases affects student ability to follow COVID-19 state and public health protocols. Alcohol reduces the functioning of information processing within the brain by decreasing activity in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for executive decision making) and increasing norepinephrine levels (stimulating neurotransmitter). These effects lead to decreased inhibition and increased impulsivity, which may prevent the strict and necessary following of COVID-19 public health protocols. Students are thus, more at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 if they are unable to follow prevention protocols of not gathering in large groups of more than 10 people, maintaining social distance of 6 feet, and wearing masks.  

Please visit for more information on Ohio State’s response to COVID-19.

Looking to explore your alcohol use more? Learn more about the free resources provided by the Student Wellness Center. Group services, 1on1 coaching, and digital platforms to fit your needs:


 The People Ignoring Social Distancing. Digital Image. Dondesigns Shutterstock. The Atlantic. Web. 18 September 2020. 


-Alcohol Education Wellness Ambassador

Let’s Celebrate

So, Governor. Mike DeWine lifted the statewide curfew, and your friends want to get together for drinks to celebrate that grueling assignment you struggled for weeks to research, write and submit? Maybe you’re not entirely comfortable with dining out during a pandemic, or perhaps you want an alternate way of celebrating that doesn’t require drinking. “Let’s grab drinks” is a phrase used too often that it sometimes becomes synonymous with, “I miss you; I want to spend time with you, let’s hang out!” but these two statements are not the same thing, and they don’t have to be. Sometimes, suggesting a night of drinking is the easiest thing to do. Many are even conditioned to look to a night out as a rite of passage in celebrating an achievement, meeting a deadline, letting loose from built-up stress, or seeing friends you may not have seen for a while. The truth is, there are plenty of ways to meet these needs without having to indulge in an overpriced cocktail. 

Virtual Options:  

  • Have a virtual game nightGather a team of fellow students and friends and sign up for OUAB’s Grad/Prof bi-weekly trivia night!  
  • Gather your friends for a movie night. Do you have a favorite comfort film that always helps get you centered after a crazy week? Pick your favorites with your friends and watch them together virtually 
  • Hop on to an online cooking class with friends through OUAB in the Kitchen. After you’ve created your meal, sit down on zoom and enjoy a meal, and the company.  
  • Throw on your favorite songs and have a dance party or share your screen and host a karaoke moment with friends.  

Does the idea of sitting in front of your screen tire you? Are you struggling with Zoom burnout? If your comfortable, here are some in-person suggestions that you could try following COVID guidelines: 

  • Potluck at the park – bring your favorite dish in individual, COVIDfriendly containers and have an outdoor, socially distant meal with friends (when the weather allows!)  
  • Host a private showing at a local theatre. You and three others can rent an entire theatre for about $25 apiece. There is plenty of room for social distancing, and no one to kick your seat, or yell at you for dancing or running through the aisles! 
  • Find a low-risk activity as suggested by the Mayo Clinic. There are still ways to have fun, get out of the house and give yourself a break in these trying times.  

There are many ways to celebrate or catch up with a friend that doesn’t have to involve drinking. In some situations, maybe you’re comfortable with them drinking in their own space virtually and don’t feel the need to participate yourself, or perhaps you’re uncomfortable with the presence of alcohol altogether and want fun options to reflect that. 

If you’re thinking about reassessing your relationship with alcohol, consider joining Beyond Your Buzz, a moderation management program offered by Ohio State’s Alcohol and Other Drug Education through the Student Wellness Center. This drop-in group is built to meet students’ needs who want to explore and make positive changes in their substance use.  

Of course, there are additional resources through the Student Wellness Center if you feel you want to make substance use changes. You can sign up for a BASICS session to explore your alcohol and drug use to reduce harmful consequences of alcohol abuse, or look into the option of the Collegiate Recovery Community if you are committed to an abstinence-based, long-term recovery community.  


Corona Beer Will Not Get Rid of Coronavirus Fear 

Even though coronavirus includes the name of a beer, it is important to know not to turn to alcohol to deal with the stress this virus has caused. The rise of 2020 COVID-19 pandemic came with a huge economic recession which has negatively affected mental health in addition to worsening the mental health of people who have already been suffering with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, in turn increasing the consumption of alcohol. In mid-July, a KFF Tracking poll was conducted and found that 53% of adults in the United States felt as though their mental health had been negatively impacted due to the stress that the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted. Much of this can be attributed to social distancing and isolation, which has heightened feelings of loneliness. In addition to loneliness, job loss elevated feelings of distress, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem which leads to higher rates of substance and alcohol abuse.  

Unfortunately, us college students are subject to experiencing these emotions at a higher rate. Due to the decline in people’s overall mental health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption and substance abuse increased by 12%. Many students feel the need to turn to alcohol as it is a depressant and induces feelings of relaxation. However, it can also reduce judgment, inhibition, and memory. Turning to alcohol to cope with unfavorable feelings in times like these can ultimately lead to problematic drinking in the future.  

While alcohol is not wrong to consume in moderation, using it as a coping mechanism has extremely adverse consequences. A physical dependence on alcohol can form, thus creating an addiction. Overusing alcohol can contribute to anger and irresponsible or destructive behavior that may be harmful to yourself or others. Using alcohol as a crutch can pose barriers to developing healthier coping mechanisms.  

If you or anyone you know has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and considers turning to alcohol, suggest alternative coping mechanisms. On campus, students can reach out to the Collegiate Recovery Community to find support as it relates to their alcohol and other drug use, attend Zoom fitness classes such as yoga to practice mindfulness, engage in physical activity such as going for walks, and reaching out to friends for support and comfort or a trained Peer Access Line peer.  

-Hansika Vamaraju, Alcohol Education Wellness Ambassador 

Breaking the Seal and Breaking the Bank

Many of the conversations around alcohol use revolve around either your physical and mental health, and physical safety while drinking. It makes sense why that might be, they are some of the most obvious and tangible negative consequences that come with use. However, it made me think: What are some of the other unintended consequences of drinking that we don’t think about so quickly? And better yet, what are some of the positive things that could come from refraining from drinking? Being a broke college student, I’ve been aware of my finances for a few years now. That begs the question: How much do college students spend on alcohol? 

According to the Huffington Post, even if you limit your drinking to the weekends, the average American can expect to spend $2,500 annually on alcohol alone. This does not include extra expenses that are often associated with drinking (think tips for the bartender, Uber/Lyft, food). This number assumes that a person is drinking only two (2) drinks per outing! This phenomenon can be described as “the latte factor.” This means that seemingly small purchases (an $8 drink) purchased frequently can add up over time to a large number ($2,500).  

While spending $2,500 on anything may make you cringe the way it makes me cringe, I wanted to take a look at some of the things that I would buy if I had that extra cash laying around. Of course I could invest it or pay down student loans, and I’m sure Ben, our Financial Wellness Coordinator, would advocate for that, but this is hypothetical! Feel free to think about what you may spend your extra money on! Here are the things I plan to acquire with the extra money from one year: 


  • The iPad Pro ($999) 
    • I enjoy staying up on gadgets as much as the next person. This iPad is INSANE! Plus, I came to Ohio State just before the incoming classes got iPads, touchy topic. I need one to take notes on like a cool person. Moving on! 

$2,500 – $999 = $1,501 

  • New TaylorMade golf clubs ($699)
    • New clubs means a better golfer, right? I’m really bad at golf, so I hope so! I would want to buy golf clubs because it would assist in my self-care activity. The better I play the more successful my self-care. 

$1,501 – $699 = $802 

  • A few pair of new shoes of course! ($600 – I would buy four pairs. Don’t judge me)
    • What can I say? I love a good pair of shoes! UltraboostsJordans, Nikes, and more. This money will go to good use in the style department. 

$802 – $600 = $202 

just upped my golf game, my shoe game, and became as cool as the class of 2022, and still have a good chunk of money left over! It blew my mind how much the average person spends on alcohol in a given year and made me realize there are some pretty cool things I could spend it on instead (or invest in, of course). 





I got 99 problems and Drinkin’ Might Be One 

Our communities have had to adapt to new health concerns, policies, changes in employment, education barriers, and social lives. Many of our community members struggle to keep that future as they survive without assistance or safety nets to stay afloat.  In addition to the impacts brought by changes necessary for public health responses, there has been an ongoing series of protests and civil unrest taking place in an international response to racism and structural oppression. After the violent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others, we must witness the U.S. culture of violence against Black people as it converges with a historical pandemic. How’s that for a 2-for-1 deal?  

Our country’s heritage of racism and colonialism has led to social disadvantages that affect our relationship to health and how it has largely been defined by hegemony. In fact, COVID-19 has shown a higher prevalence in Black and Latinx populations in comparison to white Euro-Americans. While risk is increased by having underlying conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which are highly prevalent in African Americans, these conditions are often related to a lack of access to health care and health affirming environments. The main determinant is who must leave their home. Black and Latinx people are more likely to work front-line jobs as essential workers, use public transportation, or live in multigenerational homes where social distancing becomes difficult (Oppel et. al 2020).   

People of color are forced to carry the burden of living as racialized people within interlocking systems of oppression and deal with the present threat of COVID-19. We are constantly bombarded by news reports, trending hashtags, and casual office conversations on Black death. It becomes easy to get caught up in the narrative that decides to be Black is to Suffer. This complex overlap of isolation, racial stress, wide-spread financial strain, and the disruption of support services could contribute to increased substance use or alcohol intake as we seek familiar, accessible ways to distract ourselves, seek comfort or self-medicate by dampening intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health experiences.  What’s more is that alcohol is cheap, easy to buy, and works fast. A 2017 study revealed that in young adults 18-22 years of age, “34.8 percent engaged in binge drinking and 9.7 percent engaged in heavy alcohol use (NIAAA)” in the last month.  

Moments such as these require a personal and community effort. In honor of the activism we’ve seen, I offer an act of resistance to those who are looking. Continue to find new ways to celebrate life by creating, inspiring movement, and finding things that bring you joy while acknowledging what doesn’t on a deeper level. Such acts are a refusal to be erased, particularly during a time in quarantine where it becomes easier to feel invisible, as well as ways we can lend ourselves more grace and care.  

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 


  • Practice self-compassion  
  • Grieve lost opportunities and set new goals that excite you, even if they’re small.  
  • Cry when you need to and laugh when you can  
  • Use counseling services provided by OSU (First 10 Free)    


  • Practice yoga 
  • Dance 
  • Go for a walk 


  • Meditation  
  • Finding online religious services or podcasts that align with your beliefs 


  • Paint (without sipping!) 
  • Learn a new skill like caring for plants 


  • Starting or joining a virtual book club/interest club 
  • Calling loved ones and checking in 
  • Identifying a trusted confidant 



Oppel, R., Gebeloff, R., & Rebecca, K. (2020, July 05). The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus. Retrieved September 19, 2020, from 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.) Fall Semester-A Time for Parents To Discuss the Risks of College Drinking. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2020, from 

-Faith Lewis, Wellness Ambassador