It's Friday Night, They Said, Let's Rage, They Said

It's Friday Night, They Said, Let's Rage, They Said

It’s so easy to let alcohol consume you when you think you’re just consuming it.
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Let’s talk about alcohol. In my opinion, the most abused substance. A staple in the American diet. A must-have for parties. A tool to let loose because when consumed, feel-good chemicals overwhelm the brain. They’re called endorphins and we crave more until our inhibitions are gone.

"I am more afraid of alcohol than all of the bullets of the enemy" - Stonewall Jackson

In America, the widely unpopular drinking age is set at 21 years old. But that doesn’t stop anyone. College parties are nothing without the keg, even though the majority of college students are under the age of 21. Why is it that drinking makes up a large part of college culture? When did it become so normal for underage drinking to take place? Underage drinking is illegal for a reason and indifference to the law will always bring consequences.

"Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking when blood alcohol levels are raised to 0.08 g/dL in two hours or less" - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The prevalence of alcohol in college culture has made underage drinking a norm so now, dependency on alcohol young people develop is hard to notice. Society has made drinking a social event: we drink to celebrate, drink to grieve, drink to relax, and drink to get hyped for a night out. Drinking is by no means “bad,” but bad things have to begin somewhere.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration labels binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month as heavy alcohol use. When people keep losing their lives from alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, or liver disease, it becomes time to call out the real issue, addiction to alcohol.

If drinking is interfering with your work, you're probably a heavy drinker. If work is interfering with your drinking, you're probably an alcoholic. ~Author Unknown

E. Morton Jellinek partitioned the road to alcoholism into four stages. The first stage, pre-alcoholic, when someone drinks more than just socially, and a tolerance builds. This is drinking to satisfy psychological needs, as when a rough day at work calls for a few glasses of wine. The second stage is called “Early Alcoholic,” when the person can’t resist drinking anymore.

Alcohol is apart of their life. The third stage, “Middle Alcoholic,” begins when the signs of alcoholism become obvious to family and friends. The act of drinking interferes with daily life, in this stage one drinks in the early morning or is irritable when they can’t get a drink. The body starts to show signs of alcohol abuse. The final stage, “Late Alcoholic,” consists of alcohol dominating the person’s life. Long-term alcohol abuse shows on the body and the drinker can’t go a single day without a sip.

“It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

You may think, none of those are me, my drinking is under control. But is it? The common phrase, “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just in college” needs to be thrown out the window.

Partying doesn’t end with college. Consumption of alcohol only increases after graduation, because even more social events revolve around drinking. It’s joked about way too often because dependency and addiction are serious matters. It’s important to know how harmful alcohol can be to your body. It’s so easy to let alcohol consume you when you think you’re just consuming it.

The solution? Know that lives have been destroyed by drinking. Don't end up as a news story, don't end up like that one alcoholic relative we all have. Be smart about alcohol. Know your limit.

“I think the warning labels on alcoholic beverages are too bland. They should be more vivid. Here is one I would suggest: 'Alcohol will turn you into the same asshole your father was.'” - George Carlin
Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:” Line Matters,

I want to start off by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can’t afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you’re just lazy and you “don’t feel like it”? Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you’re unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the US Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck.” stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:” line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can’t seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to ten people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!”

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the seventeen other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there’s a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 dollar bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of ten times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession - whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food, and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a forty dollar bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes - as if you’re better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you’ll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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My Journey As A Vegan

I would say a vegan joke, but it's not cheesy enough.

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It has been almost a decade since I first transitioned into a vegan, beginning my journey when I was only ten years old. After three years of being a vegetarian, I decided to take the leap and completely remove animal products from my life. This was a decision that, fortunately, my family supported and eventually even joined me in, which is not the case for many people who pursue a vegan lifestyle. Although it is one of the best decisions I have made, it has not always been easy.

When I first became a vegan, one of my main goals was the same for most people: to lose weight. Although I was around 10 years old at the time, I was quite aware that I was chubby for my age. I dealt with insecurities regarding my weight for my entire life, so I hoped a new diet could help fix the issue.

Of course, I did not get the results I was looking for right away. My extended tummy did not transform overnight into a six-pack (I'm still waiting for that transition to occur, unfortunately).

A vegan diet does not mean simply eliminating all animal products but instead replacing the nutrients you once received from dairy and eggs. In other words, my diet of potato chips and coconut milk based ice cream was not going to work.

Eventually, after doing my research, I slowly found my body changing. Not only was I able to lose some baby fat, but I began physically feeling better. The heavy weight of a cheese pizza no longer nauseated me at night, the acne on my back cleared up, and I noticed my energy levels staying elevated throughout the day. Even though my journey began at a young age, these benefits still apply today (although I may need that extra latte now and then).

As I grew older and continued this diet, I began to realize that becoming vegan is not just a dietary change, but a lifestyle change. It affected every aspect of my existence, including my social life.

As a child, none of my fellow peers really knew what the term "vegan" meant. All they knew was that I didn't eat ice cream cake at birthday parties and my lunch bag didn't include Cosmic Brownies like everyone else.

By the time I entered high school, being a vegan had finally become trendy. It was the new fad, and for a month or two, I had someone to go on a lunch date with when my friends experimented with the diet. As someone from a suburban town, though, becoming vegan was not as popular as I hoped it would be. Most people immediately assumed I was a "radical vegan," screaming at the sight of a hot dog and shaming everyone who even looked at a grilled cheese sandwich. People around me were actually more accepting of my diet when I was in elementary school than when I was a junior in high school. Once I mentioned to a new friend that I was a vegan (which I started to refrain from bringing up until it was absolutely necessary), I was viewed as cruel and judgmental.

On top of this, it became harder and harder to go out with my friends to eat. As a kid, my Mom could make me and my friend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we would both be satisfied, but the local fast food places that teenagers love to go to aren't quite as accommodating and often don't have many options. Unless I was looking to order a Caesar salad without dressing every Friday night, there wasn't much out there for me.

This put me at a social disadvantage because the act of rejoicing in a savory meal is one of the main sources of human connection. People bond over food, and if I wasn't eating (or wasn't enjoying what I was eating), I didn't really feel like I was part of the group.

It was around this period in my life where my supportive family came to save the day.

At this point, both of my parents and one of my older sisters were now vegans, along with my fellow vegetarian sister. Together, we found a few vegan restaurants that the small state of Connecticut has to offer and discovered some gems in the surrounding New England area. From non-dairy soft-serve ice cream to 100% plant-based restaurants that even my carnivorous brother could enjoy, everywhere we went had something for all of us. These types of places prove that tofu isn't as bland as everyone thinks.

This brings us to the present, where I will soon be celebrating my 10-year friendaversary with my fellow plants. I hope as time progresses, less and less people exclaim with disgust when they see the tempeh sandwich I packed for lunch, while more and more people at least consider experimenting with different cruelty-free options. Perhaps the change does not have to strictly concern one's diet, but even the make-up and hair products we use in our everyday lives. Once in a while, maybe you can even consider just glancing at those meatless patties in the frozen section of the grocery store.

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