Ask Natalie: Hiding huge drunk helicopter rescue bills from your parents

“Dear Natalie,

I got airlifted from Wreck Beach for alcohol poisoning. I had never had a drink before that night so I am pretty hesitant to drink again. I know my parents are going to kill me once the bill comes. I am seriously considering dropping out and I don't know where to go for help. Please help me!!!!”

Well, chances are your parents will be pissed. I mean, yes, you did have to get airlifted off of Wreck Beach and yes, that’s going to be expensive. But I’m sure your parents are going to be slightly happier that you... you know… survived. Alcohol poisoning is serious and there was a reason that you needed to go to the hospital.

Over-drinking, abusing alcohol or binge drinking can have serious effects and there is a reason that residences don’t allow drinking games. I drink, but I also know it is more fun to drink within reason. If you're having trouble keeping control when drinking, consider pulling back and talking to someone, be it your RA or Student Health Services.

If you’re not comfortable drinking again, don’t. You can still have fun without drinking. If you want to start again, know that everyone goes over their limit sometimes (that’s kind of what first year is for) and it shouldn’t hold you back from drinking in moderation. Of course, you should be following any and all medical advice you received at the hospital.

As for your parents, you have to tell them before the bill comes. If you want them not to be super mega extra pissed, come up with a plan. That might mean giving them 30 to 50 per cent of your paycheque until the bill’s paid off or offering money that you’ve been saving for a long awaited trip. Tell them the steps you’ve thought of and mention residence (if you live in residence) alcohol training sessions you might have to go to.

If you want to leave university, you can — no one is going to stop you. But don’t let one dumb night change your future. If you’re worried about the people you live with, don’t be. It’s only one year at your current place and you never have to see any of them again. If you’re worried about your parents getting mad at you, they will be, but they will get over it through time.

Everyone makes bad decisions. That’s what make us human.

It’s fine. Repeat after me — this will be fine. This will be fine. This will be fine. You didn’t rob a jewelry shop or commit grand theft auto. You got far too drunk once. This will be fine. Talk to your support group, friends, your RA, boss or anyone who can listen. You can get through this. This isn’t the end, even if it feels that way.

“I’m in love with my former OL from jumpstart. This person has had my heart since the moment I laid eyes on them. Their hair though.”

Ahh, first love. Again, everyone makes bad decisions. Decide if you want your OL to be yours.

Good luck. ;)

“Are faculty-student socials worth attending? I feel that they're a waste of time...”

If your faculty is small or you want to do research in the future, it’s not a waste of time. If you want a decent reference letter sometime in the future, it’s not a waste of time. If you would rather not get involved with anything to do with your department once graduating, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to skip them.

“How pet-friendly is UBC?”

On a scale from cat to dog: two puppies. Not three — that would be pushing it.

“Is it always bad to drink coffee in the evening?”

It’s always 100 per cent horrible to speak in absolutes.

Need advice? Contact Natalie anonymously at or at and have your questions answered!