A College Norm: Underaged Drinking

A College Norm: Underaged Drinking

Is that shot really worth your mug shot?
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College. When this word comes to mind, the definition varies from person to person. Many scholars would agree with the definition Merriam-Webster provides," A school in the U.S. that you go to after high school: a school that offers courses leading to a degree (such as a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree)". While many will perceive college as such, there are a numerous amount of people would associate better with the definition provided by Urban Dictionary," A magical place where it is rumored that learning takes place, although to those who enter it is often described differently afterward, as a beautiful land in which beer flows in amber currents next to a golden pasture, where virgins lie naked with gentle smiles upon their calm, inviting faces; but more precisely, a Shangri-La rite of passage into adulthood which involves rampant consumption of alcoholic beverages, flagrant and promiscuous sexual behavior, and a general and fundamental disregard for any form of responsibility by its habitants". Both of these can be seen as viable definitions, although these definitions become expectations of what your college experience should entail.

You come into college with such high standards from yourself and everyone around you. Your family expects your best effort and good grades, your friends expect you to have elaborate party stories from each weekend. As you come into college you expect to balance both, but that doesn't turn out to be the case. I have come to realize however, and you should to, that it is okay to choose one or the other, or neither at all if that is what pleases you! Coming to college I expected to take in the party aspect and have an exuberant social life; I was mistaken. Just because you come to college doesn't mean you change as a person, although for some reason this is what I had drilled in my brain. For a while I thought that I was the odd one out because I wasn't like everyone else with their weekend routines; drink, party, sleep, repeat. To me, it's just a waste of time, energy and money.

On college campuses, partying and drinking are the norm and actually glorified. Each weekend you have people discussing their drunk adventures and sharing their snapchat's that they have no shame for. At first you may think, what is wrong with this? But what is wrong is most people who take part in this are under the age of 21. Take a step back from this mysterious fish bowl of a college campus, and this is not the norm. Yes, when people become of legal age they enjoy themselves and go out on weekends to the bars and indulge in the party scene. But being in a dingy, dark, dirty basement of a frat house with numerous sweaty, scantily clad dressed girls surrounding you, with a Spotify playlist acting as DJ; this is not the normal occurrence. Neither is guys walking around in and out of places with backpacks filled with booze that they guard with their life. What do people find attractive and/or normal about this?

Once you take a step back from the college realm and take a good look at things, you will realize it is perfectly acceptable to not want to be a part of this. From most adults and outsiders, its probably looked at like a good thing. College is certainly not the real world, and this aspect of it certainly is not. There are other things to do besides being part of the party scene. Even though 4 out of 5 college students drink, it's okay to be that one person who doesn't. Just because everyone is doing something, 1. Does not mean it’s right and 2. Does not mean you have to take part in it. Chances are, you are making a much better choice than you think.

When people go out they don't encounter the risks. Those photos of your drunken nights you post? Teachers or future employers will probably see them. Blatantly carrying alcohol down streets and into places? Not the best idea. The number of times people get arrested for drinking in one night is outrageous. Just because it happened on one weekend in your college years, does not mean that it won't be out there forever and possibly affect your future. 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking. Needless to say, there are much better things you could be doing with your life.

Drinking may seem like it is the heart and soul of college, but you are really here to be getting a better education and moving forward in your life to bigger and better things. Next time you need a good reminder of why you are here, just think of all the people in under privileged countries who don't even have the chance to come to get an education. Would they think wasting your money, time and education on drinking and getting caught is a good idea? Just a little food for thought the next time you pick up that handle of alcohol or post yet another drunken Instagram pic. P.S. just because you post one each weekend, doesn't mean you're cool.

*Definitions within the article were taken from the official Merriam-Webster and Urban Dictionary websites. Statistics regarding college and drinking are provided from the US Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health.*

Cover Image Credit: Maya Sugarman

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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