We’ve all been there. You’re out with your friends having a great time, laughing, drankin’, dancing. You swear you’ll only stay out until midnight so you can rest up for work the next morning. Yet, all of a sudden, the lights go on and the music cuts, killing your Friday night vibe.

The realization that it’s 2 am hits you hard. Seeing as it was just 10 o’clock 3 seconds ago, your only question is: “What happened?” Looks like you’ll be swinging by Starbs in the morning.

Happy hour

Photo by Lauren Anzevino

It’s easy to get sick of this same old routine. Stress and exhaustion from a week of school prompts you to go out and let off some steam. Unfortunately, the late nights and early morning responsibilities (yuck) leave you even more exhausted. The vicious cycle continues week after week.

Happy hour

Photo by Becca Berland

Happy hour can help. Happy hour is your friend. Happy hour will never fail you, or deceive you into staying out past 2 am. Let me demonstrate with an ever-so-helpful timeline.

4:30 pm

Happy hour

Photo by Paulina Lam

After a long week of papers, projects, and presentations, it’s finally Friday afternoon. You just finished class, work, or whatever other irrelevant responsibilities you have. The week is finally O-V-E-R. After 5 days of working hard and eating all of your veggies, you’re more than ready to let loose and treat yo self with as many margs as your last paycheck can buy. Call up your friends, you’re going to happy hour.

5 pm

Happy hour

Photo courtesy of thechive.com

If you don’t pull up to the restaurant at the exact moment happy hour starts, you’re already wasting your money. Half-price margaritas, $4 drafts, $5 glasses of wine — this is everything a broke, stressed-out college student could dream of. If your bank account could speak, it’d say “Thank you.”

5:30 pm

Happy hour

Photo by Emma Delaney

Halfway through gossiping with your friends you notice something wild: you can actually hear each other. No pounding club music. No screaming “WHAT?” over the aggressive bass. No awkward “Never mind”-ing after the third time your friend asks you to repeat yourself.

Happy hour takes the sleaziness out of the bar scene. You still get the drinks and (most importantly) the deals, but the atmosphere completely changes. Some casual fun without having to squint in the dark or pull your friend away from that lurking guy in the corner feels refreshing.

6 pm

Happy hour

Photo by Kai Phillips-Lustick

Half. Off. Appetizers.

6:30 pm

Happy hour

Photo by Darcy Mautino

With a full page of specialty cocktails, all at a discounted price, you’ve decided it’s important to try them all. Your priorities seem to be in check, but after glass of sangria and a huge margarita, it may be time to calm down (right after you try that cranberry mojito).

7 pm

Happy hour

Photo by Kelly Logan

You underestimated the power of happy hour, but as it comes to an end, you realize you’re the perfect level of #turnt. Your stressors have all but disappeared after laughing with friends over sangria. Leaving the restaurant, you thought you’d be ready to go all night long. But honestly after such a long week, snuggling up with Kimmy Schmidt sounds more appealing than ever.

8:30 pm

Happy hour

Photo by Paulina Lam

Home sweet home. Laying on a cloud of pillows before 10 pm on a Friday night once seemed lame, yet it feels so right. Having already completed your typical weekend activities hours in advance, you’re happy to curl up with a huuuuge bowl of cereal (drunchies are important) in bed.

Happy hour made all this possible. Happy hour ensured that you wouldn’t be out all night, with regrets in the morning. Happy hour had your back tonight. We love you, happy hour.