I recently celebrated my 21st birthday about a month ago on February 5th. (Shout out to all my fellow Aquarius signs!) Anyway, I had my first taste of alcohol on my 21st. I had never consumed alcohol prior to my 21st birthday. A lot of people have asked me why I chose to wait so long. I personally just felt like I wanted to wait until I was of age to have my first drink. For me, it was more special to wait and enjoy my first drink than drink alcohol before I turned of age. Also, I felt that waiting meant I would be more responsible when it came to my alcohol limits. I have nothing against those who decide to drink before the legal drinking age in the United States, but just remember you can refuse to drink.

In high school, I was never really interested in the partying scene. I was the kind of person in high school who preferred going out to a movie with friends than to a party. The same kind of attitude followed me in college too. Now that I am in my third year of college, I have gone out to a few parties. I still chose to refuse the alcohol, though. I am lucky that the people who I surround myself with respected my choice not to drink. A lot of people have an image of college students always drunk and suffering from too severe of hangovers to attend class.

I am a member of the Greek community at my university as well, so people automatically pair us with alcohol. I was offered a beer plenty of times, but it takes courage to say no. Do not feel like you have to drink to “fit in” or be seen as “cool.” At times I did feel a bit out of place because people around me are experienced drinkers. If you surround yourself with people who try to force things upon you that you are not comfortable with, make sure to let them know. Real friends respect your boundaries. Trust me, you can still have plenty of fun without drinking. Do not feel obligated to drink only because everyone else is. Think of the bright side, the next day you will not be hungover from the party the night before.

Remember to always drink responsibly whether you are of age or not. Do not go over your limit to keep up with others. This can lead to a lot of negative situations. Also, from my observations at parties, I learned that is it important to take care of those who are drinking around you especially if they are completely wasted. They usually are not aware of most of their actions so stepping in when needed is fine.

Ultimately the decision is up to you. I personally chose to wait, but I have plenty of friends who chose not to. With whatever YOU decide…be safe and have fun!