Normalizing the College Binge Drinking Scene is Good For Absolutely No One

Normalizing the College Binge Drinking Scene is Good For Absolutely No One

Attending a university in a "college town" like Boston, you will, in all likelihood, encounter the stereotypical party crowd that accepts habitual binge drinking as the norm. This begets a problem when addiction rates are already reaching epidemic proportions across the nation.

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Alcohol: the most easily accessible drug.

A legal drug, in fact – that is, if you are over 21. A socially acceptable drug to partake in with coworkers, family members, or even strangers you meet at the bar. Can the same be said for drugs like heroin or cocaine? For whatever reason, alcohol is not only prevalent in today's world, but consuming copious amounts of it regularly isn't even seen as a big deal or cause of concern to most people.

In fact, bragging about how much you can drink is actually a source of pride for many, especially within the young adult college-aged crowd.

I remember my first realization that perhaps alcohol abuse was more rampant than I previously thought during Boston University's Freshman Orientation, when Dean Elmore (bless his soul) and a team of students put on a skit espousing the dangers of drinking too much – and all the RAs in every dorm gave us all a small card with emergency phone numbers and information about alcohol poisoning.

It's a good procedure, I thought to myself as I pinned the emergency card onto the walls of my dorm in Warren. (8B, wsup.) But how prevalent were these alcohol-induced emergencies that beget the need for our own Dean to personally address the issue of alcohol poisoning or peer pressure to a crowd of underage freshmen?

We weren't even allowed to legally drink, and yet here was a presentation from the Dean himself on how 12 oz of beer was equivalent to 5 oz of wine, 8 oz of malt liquor, or 1.5 oz of tequila or vodka. And so on. (If you're interested in learning more about alcohol equivalents, check out this page! It's pretty damn useful.)

The rate of college kids who have embraced binge drinking as a cultural norm is staggeringly high, even in communities unlike Boston who have not yet earned the self-proclaimed title of existing in a "college town."

And when you're living in a college town like Boston? Let's just say, if I were a college kid on the hunt for some alcohol, it was easily obtainable at the next Allston rager. Hell, even if you were in a dorm, you probably had access to a handle or two hidden under your roommate's bed. Let's not pretend like this wasn't totally what happened on a regular basis.

It's problematic because alcohol addiction is very much a real crisis afflicting our communities. Students who binge drink in college can evolve into high-functioning alcoholics who take swigs of the Ciroq hidden under their desk at work in between client meetings.

Let me hammer it home for you: binge drinking is problematic. You are probably more than aware of the short-term repercussions of consuming too much alcohol: blurry speech, vomiting, impaired judgment, blacking out completely, and suffering from a raging hangover the morning after. But many young adults take these symptoms as the expected price to pay after a big party. In other words, these short-term symptoms do little to deter the average college-age student from denouncing alcohol as a dangerous drug completely.

Because once they bounce back and recover, as our young bodies are fully capable of doing, they're already thinking of the next rager or Thirsty Thursday where they can restart the cycle. Rinse and repeat this process the entire year, and you've got your everyday college-aged alcoholic in the making.

What they neglect to realize is the long-term repercussions of consistent binge drinking: the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, the liver damage, the ulcers, and malnutrition. So maybe not every person who likes to party and unwind on Fridays and Saturdays is an alcoholic. There's nothing wrong with having some fun. But when these dangerous drinking habits become normalized – or even revered – then suddenly the leap to developing a full-blown alcohol addiction later on in life is closer than you realize.

Do you suspect alcoholism in a friend, a family member, or even yourself? Are you able to drink casually without getting to the point of total inebriation, or is it always a slippery slope from taking the first drink of the day before you begin racing towards complete intoxication?

Here are some signs that you – or someone you know – may be addicted to alcohol:

  • You've lied or fudged the truth on how much (or how frequent) you drink alcohol.
  • You regularly black out when you drink – that is, lose memories after drinking too much and only have a hazy idea of what really happened.
  • You seem incapable of limiting yourself to 1-2 drinks; instead, on every occasion you partake in alcohol, you seem to lose control of yourself and go ALL OUT with the amount of alcohol you consume. (In other words, it's never just one beer or one cocktail for the evening.)
  • You start to neglect your relationships or responsibilities when they don't involve drinking, like studying for exams or hanging out with your friends who don't drink that frequently.
  • You have attempted to quit drinking or at least slow down the pace, but you seemingly can't.
  • You drink in situations you aren't supposed to… like driving, during class, or while working.
  • You feel emotionally or physically dependent on the alcohol, and experience withdrawal symptoms when it's been a while since you last consumed alcohol. These withdrawal symptoms can be physical (insomnia, sweating, headaches) or even psychological (irritable with others, depressed, unhappy with being sober).

If any of the signs above sound all-too-familiar, remember not to panic. There are plenty of resources for alcoholics to get better and overcome their addiction. If you feel too embarrassed or shameful to admit you have an addiction, going online to find anonymous support groups to help recommend treatment methods can be your first step towards healing. Remember that it's OK to enjoy alcohol – but keep in mind that MODERATION is key. Are you capable of controlling your alcohol consumption? Be honest and candid with yourself, because it's never too late to turn your life around.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49 (one pack), $14.99 (two pack)

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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My Career As A Model Was Short-Lived But Spectacular

I'm totally on Vogue's and Victoria's Secret's speed dial. Also there's a lot of pictures in this one so brace yourselves.

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When we think of models, our minds probably immediately jump to one of many modern-day multimillionaires (whew, try saying that fast three times): the Kardashians (and Jenners), the Hadids, the Crawford-Gerbers, the Beckhams, the Smiths, Ashley Graham, Priyanka Chopra-Jonas etc... These celebrities have all worked their way up in a vicious industry that is so zeroed in on minute details and mistakes that it turns to advocate for synthetics and photoshop in many (but not all- Priyanka would never) cases. But I think we're forgetting to account for the REAL models: kid models. And better yet, self-acclaimed kid models. Let me explain the difference.

On one hand, you have the children whose parents are so bored that they scour the local newspapers, which are miraculously still in print, for child pageants and local commercials. These are typically the fashionistos/fashionistas who end up being fabulous child actors. Sometimes, they last, like the infamous Sprouse twins, and sometimes, we don't hear from them after their main glory days, like Taylor Momsen (the one and only Cindy-Lou Who). Of course, they are all icons in their own ways.

On the other hand, you have your local superstar kids who simply think they take up all the attention in your hometown when they are actually far from doing so. Hi, that's me. Sorry in advance for the cringe you are going to witness.

Since I was young, I have always been super expressive emotionally- cue camera roll spam.

Wow, look at the It Factor I possess.

Sass? AND a bob? Me

This was peak angst in 7th grade Featuring neighborhood cat, Boots (AKA Fresca).Me

As I have probably covered in past articles, I now try to only express all of that emotion through writing or when I'm around people I'm close to. However, being an Athens native for about 16 years has a certain price for a super expressive Pisces.

If you're from around here, let me just pretend like you've noticed my lovely face on the tiny mural in Sandy Creek Nature Center, pictured below.

"Yup, that's me!"- Raven Baxter Me

That iconic silhouette is from the verrrrrry sophisticated photoshoot pictured below.

This baby realllllly didn't like strangers. Me

You'll notice that I am not brandishing (yes, I know that's not good verb choice) the infant in the actual mural BUT that's only because clearly, the Lyndon House Arts Center recognized my star potential and decided to just go with me as the main subject of the artistic masterpiece squished beside the fire alarm.

However, that's all past fame in my view. Around age 15, I became a go-to Christmas-elf recruit for the Lyndon House Arts Center Holiday House. A very tall Christmas elf at that. My job was to entertain the little kids with storybooks and questions about their Christmas lists while they waited to take their own pictures with the Special Guest. This gig usually came with the occasional spotlight posted on Facebook, which I embraced.

Me with the Toy Maker.Me

Recently, a very terrifying "photoshoot" that I didn't know was a real "photoshoot" has come back to haunt me. Let me draw your attention to this lovely video made by Radar Production around the time of last year's Christmas Parade in beautiful Downtown Athens.

Holiday Highlights 2017 drive.google.com

Around the thirty-second mark, you get a face full of hideous Christmas elf just beaming at the camera. That's me, unfortunately. Now, me, being a high schooler still, was very confident that my second family at Lyndon House would just be uploading this lovely video to their Facebook and maybe Online Athens or something- that's usually the highest level of stardom achievable in Dawgs nation for a lame high-school senior. However, I was very, very wrong.

disgustingMe

This ghastly close-up I mentioned earlier has resurfaced this holiday season of 2018 and has apparently been making its way around TV Channels and stream services as an advertisement for Downtown Athens. While I am very honored to represent this lovely town...I DON'T WANT THAT PICTURE TO BE THE ONE THAT GETS PUBLICIZED. Also, I only became aware of this when multiple- MULTIPLE- classmates I went to high school with, as well as new college friends, started spamming my Snapchat with this hideous thing. I got many many questions and comments, ranging from "HOw?", "What?", "Are you serious?" and "iS THis real?" to "wow", "amazing", and "yikes."

Yikes indeed.

In this stressful finals season, I am now supposed to be eased by the knowledge that my friends who are currently binge-watching New Girl on FX get to be jump-scared by the 5-foot-9 Christmas Elf, Snickerdoodle, and her pudgy little cheeks.

As distressed and Grinch-like as I sound in this article, I guess my soul is just trying to wish everyone a happy holiday season since my actual body is too immersed in chemistry, Spanish, and human development to do it. And that I think my modeling days are over, as beautiful as they have been. Please let them be over.

Happy Holidays, readers! Thanks for bearing with the kid pics.

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