D.A.R.E. To Be Hard Core While Being Drug Free

D.A.R.E. To Be Hard Core While Being Drug Free

Wait? Isn't that an oxymoron?

“You’re a what, again?”

I’m a Straight Edge.

“Yeah… and that means you’re a what exactly?”

Call me Tevye because if I had a nickel for every time I got this question, “I would be a rich man, Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.” (Anyone? "Fiddler on the Roof" references?? Is this thing on???)

And you know what, that’s fine. I take zero offense when people don’t know what being Straight Edge means. I’m not offended because, within that moment of asking me, an opportunity to educate them on the matter is born. Now, I’ve been giving my TedTalk on the Straight Edge way since the eighth grade, and I’m always greeted with the same “Well why would you want to do that?”

Aaaah, middle school, a time when children, like pudgy squeaky-voiced Lauren, discovered the dark realities of my fellow peers that made me claim the moniker.

Kids were doing drugs, and 'lil fat Lauren was terrified.

See, plain and simple, being Straight Edge is abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but I promise there is so much more that goes into it than that. When you think “drug and alcohol free,” you think of your fifth-grade teacher playing a tape from the '80s on how “Billy smoked one marijuana cigarette, and now he’s in a coma with no arms and legs.” This is not what I think when I think of being drug and alcohol free the Straight Edge way.

Straight Edge culture wasn’t born from abstinent moms funding cruel and unusual punishment in the form of “cool and hip” raps to teach kids about the dangers of smoking like you’d think. Nope, it surprisingly emerged from said abstinent mom’s greatest nightmare…

Punk music. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! (I know, surprising right!)

“But Lauren! Aren’t real punks so hardcore that they only eat drugs for breakfast and follow up with a shower of booze???”

First of all, if you know someone that swaps out the most important meal of the day with the mysterious catch-all that is “drugs”, then you need to call their mother right now and let them know what’s up with their kid.

Second of all, yes, the “drug and alcohol free” that I think of is when bands are so devoted to the music, that they cut out all of the clutter that surrounded their scene and cleaned up their acts to have the clear mindset and healthy bodies they needed to overthrow capitalistic suburbia with their music and attitude.

The movement began in D.C. when punk bands began to split off from the scene by identifying themselves as Straight Edge bands. While both communities had the shared values of living for now, not conforming to society, and not participating in societal duties like work and school, a division could be seen in the Straight Edge’s new focus on anti-inebriation lyrics, use of shouting rather than singing those lyrics, and continual active abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

A few sub-cultures arose from the main split, such as short-lived Bent Edge culture (a less-strict straight edge), Militant (or hardline) Straight Edge culture (even more strict about being Straight Edge and sometimes violent about enacting their beliefs on others) and the beginnings of Youth Crew. Youth Crew focused on more of a heavy-metal rather than punk sound, and it also features the addition of vegetarian/veganism in the rules of the scene. Youth Crew would become the beginnings of the modern-day Straight Edge.

With the ideals of being Straight Edge comes our community’s sign-- the X. If you’ve ever gone to a concert or event that served alcohol while you were still under-age, then you’ve probably seen the X. Sometime in the '80s, an under-aged band, Teen Idles, was almost denied entry to play at a venue because of it's attached bar. Management worried about the minors being confused for 21+ adults and obtaining booze.

So, the band and management compromised, and they agreed that the members would get black Xs Sharpie-d onto the backs of their hands to show the bartenders they could not be sold to. The Xs were then featured on the band’s Minor Disturbances album, continuing the anti-drinking connotation while the act of marking minors continued to be used to prevent underage drinking at gigs. The Straight Edge community claims the X as a sign of our abstinence from all of our respective clutter-- whether it’s the classic drugs and alcohol or as specific as caffeine and meat.

In my particular case, I am a Straight Edge because life is too precious to not take in fully. The blessing of life is too fragile to not want to appreciate and experience every seemingly minute, but truly important, detail. I also don’t want caffeine-dependent headaches.

So yes, I am a Straight Edge.

No, I would not like a drink.

And yes, I would be happy to re-explain what Straight Edge is to you again.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.


College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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College Party 'Ratios' Are Sexist Discrimination Against Men, Change My Mind

For every guy who wants to go to a party, he needs four or five girls to accompany him.


I'm sure at least every college student has at least been to a party once — or they've tried to. I'm a first-year female, and I've been to a few parties. I don't necessarily like them, but free drinks and good music can rope anyone in. There's also the fact that females can get into these parties with NO hassle. You have a group of 10 girls? No problem. Three girls? Step right up. Even if you're all alone, you can get in anywhere as long as you're a female.

But if you're a male? Good luck, you're most likely not going to get in.

Before I came to college, I didn't understand what "ratios" were. I mean, of course, I know what an actual ratio is in mathematical terms, but a party ratio is a little different.

It's also very very sexist.

Most parties put out a ratio when the addresses come out. They'll usually be something like 1:4 or 1:5. This actually means, that for every guy who wants to go to a party, he needs four or five girls to accompany him. Simply preparing for that and gathering girls itself is hard. Especially because if you're a male and you want your male best friend to come with you, both of you need about eight or 10 girls COMBINED. Isn't that a little too much?

Last week, my roommate dragged me out of bed to go to a party because I'd been working all week. I agreed only because the weather was somewhat okay. We went with a couple from our residence hall, one other female, and two other guys. So a total of four girls, and three guys. Obviously not good for ratios at all. When we got to the party, we found out that not only was the ratio 1:5, but a dude had to pay $5 for EVERY MISSING GIRL. So we all split up to get in, and it was me and one of the guys as a "group." They let me in, but the guy with me had to pay $15 dollars out of pocket.

And the party was a**!

What really inspired me to write this article, was when he said, "I feel really bad about paying $15 for this. I work at a grocery store and I only make money doing that, so this is really painful."

To be honest, I was pretty mad. I would never put down that much money for a stupid party. But what do you do if you're a guy and don't have a ratio? You pay.

We're always talking about the feminist movement and how men have more than females, but is this really any better?

Parties just want females for clout. Males are overshadowed. Why should only guys have to pay to get in? When asked, the answer comes down to covering the costs assumed for throwing the party. The fraternities need to cover for their drinks and any decorations, so they use this money to do so. But not every male who pays to get in drinks. So why not just let people in and then make them pay for each drink they have? It's not sexist and it makes everyone responsible for THEIR actions.

A guy shouldn't have to pay $15 so a bunch of girls can drink free alcohol. Parties should make everyone pay to get in. Anywhere from $2-$5 per person is more than enough to cover costs. Ostracizing males from females in this matter isn't trying to achieve a more equal future for anyone. It's backward, sexist, extremely segregating, and it needs to stop.

Change my mind.

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