People tend to die from alcohol in one of two ways:
1) destruction of their liver;
2) choking on their own vomit.
The liver thing would be a long term condition and I do not think it is possible to do this in a single night without passing out long before you do.
The choking thing, basically means drinking enough to the point that you pass out. It could happen to even the most seasoned drinker. Everyone is different.. so I do not know how much it would take to induce this in you.. but certainly if you pass out or cannot walk straight, you will be a candidate for this.
People go past their "safety" zone in the following ways:
1) Get abused by people when they are too drunk to look after themselves. For girls this usually means sexual abuse, for guys it usually means getting beaten up.
2) Have a bad mental reaction to drinking too much
3) Badly embarrass themselves.
It is very common for people to drink in excess to the point that they will have blanks in their memory for certain portions of the event. For most people, they just take this in stride. For a surprising number of people that rarely drink however, they react very badly to this and can suffer from a kind of short-term post traumatic stress disorder, or end up in a non-clinical but nonetheless stressed state of mind.
In my experiences I have seen countless people drink until they cannot walk and passout. I have personally met only one person that died from alcohol and only a few that suffered from mild mental disturbance as a result of getting "too drunk." The person that died was in his 50s and he died from liver failure.
So how much? There is no simple answer... definitely do not have like 6 or 7 shots in a single hour (it will take about an hour or more before you notice it). Make sure to stop drinking whenever you feel uncomfortable. I would avoid drinking to the point you pass out or cannot walk. If you do, you will end up experiencing puking and your first major hangover... which sucks. Also from the sounds of it, you are not a person with a lot of street-sense (so to speak) so I would make sure you stay around people you really trust (like your best girl friends) and not go home with some random dude; not end up on your own; not end up having to find your own way home. If you do drink too much, try to sleep on your side and get a bucket ready. Remember it takes a while before you notice what you drank. So have a bit then wait an hour and see how you feel. You might also consider getting a drink that you could slowly have over the course of half-an-hour or something.. instead of just all shots.
If I had a daughter and she asked me this and I could not supervise her and just had to give her an answer.. I would tell her do not have more than 3 per hour. Stop as soon as you feel a bit tipsy. Maybe this means stopping after one hour... Always make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and capable of getting yourself home safely. Drink water when you get home and stay up for an hour without drinking alcohol before going to bed. Never ever ever ever ever drink something that has been out of your sight (i.e. do not go to the washroom, come back and finish your drink... I know some disaster stories surrounding this).
I'm 30. Life experience...