Getting Trashed On Your 21st Birthday Isn't For Everyone

Getting Trashed On Your 21st Birthday Isn't For Everyone

"Drinking 'til you drop" has been done throughout human history, dating back to the Byzantine Empire.

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It's pretty normal for college students to drink until they blackout on their 21st birthday. "Drinking 'til you drop" has been done throughout human history, dating back to the Byzantine Empire. In colonial times, people would drink more alcohol than water, since it was cleaner than river water(which they pissed in). Even children were drinking alcohol back in those days! So, why not partake in this human tradition? Why not go out to the bars with my buddies and get turnt? Why not throw up my guts the next morning?

Well, it's not that I think it's evil or irresponsible. Actually, I think it's healthy for people to let loose and have fun at parties. If you restrict people, they will inevitably over-indulge later in a way that is much more harmful. No, I'm just personally scared of it. From moments in my life, I have seen the devastating power alcohol can have on a life. These encounters were uncensored, raw, and up close.

The first encounter was when I was eight. My uncle was living with us when he had cancer. Part of the reason for his stay was that my mom turned our home into a hospice. The other reason, said to me after he died, was that he had no one else and would've been on the street. He was skinny and quiet in the time he was with us. His whole life, he struggled with alcoholism. He couldn't keep a job and never had a family. The home he had lived in before was from a charity organization connected to the church.

His house, before he moved in with us, was filled with roaches. We had learned this the hard way. My dad, who had tried to salvage an old television from his brother's house, had unwittingly brought home some 20 cockroaches— which jumped out and scattered as soon as he placed the television on the carpet. It was the first time I had ever seen these brown, quivering little pests in my home of bleached countertops and fresh laundry.

In the final days of my uncle's stay, when every meal he ate was vomited back up an hour later, I remember watching from a distance as he cried in my mother's arms.

The second encounter was when I was seventeen. My long-distance ex and I would leave Skype in the background of our computers while we slept. One night, a school night, he had come home from a party. Earlier in our relationship, he had admitted that he had a drinking problem, that he would black out and get scared. This night, in particular, he had woken me up at 2:00 a.m. He was panicking, insisting that I had to watch him while he slept. If I didn't, he feared he would drown in his own throw-up while he slept. Naturally, I kept drifting off and every time I did, he would scream and cry. Despite it being four years ago, I still remember that night pretty vividly.

Although these encounters were horrifying, I still drank with friends on my birthday. Was it less than half a drink? Yes! Did I stare at it and then look at my boyfriend the way Jesus prayed in the garden the night before his crucifixion begging God to "pass this cup from my lips"? Also Yes! Did I have fun? Absolutely! And I think that's what's important. I wouldn't have had fun if I got "shit faced." I would've been mortified, I would've had nightmares about throw-up and cockroaches for weeks! But, on the flip side, I would've felt left out if I didn't at least try one.

So, this is less a piece about anti-alcoholism than it is about moderation or facing your fears.

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10 Things I Learned From Growing Up In A Town Smaller Than A College Campus

A town straight out of a country song.

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With a population of just over 1,000, my hometown has given me so much in my 19 years of life. It's taught me things I would've never learned anywhere else (whether that be good or bad).

1. You know everyone and everyone knows you

This is so true, especially if you're a part of a big family. You're not only somehow related to everyone, but everyone knows which family you belong to. I can't go anywhere in town without at least one person recognizing me (which isn't a bad thing). If you were in the newspaper, there's a slight chance that multiple people will tell you as soon as they see you.

2. High school sports (especially football) are no joke 

As someone who cheered for four years, there's truly nothing like home football games. The sound of the crowd roaring behind you, the tunnel at the beginning of the games, and the sunsets gleaming onto the field. My senior year the football team almost went to state for the first time in 22 years. It was a HUGE deal for the community. The football players were like local celebrities and it was such an exciting time for everyone. There truly isn't anything better the spirit that surrounds small-town sports.

3. High school homecoming is a big deal for everyone

Unlike larger schools, basketball and football homecomings in my small town were like one big reunion for everyone. We have an elaborate theme for each homecoming and the Stu-co spent all day decorating it. The gym and sidelines were usually packed with people coming home to see old friends, to find out which candidate gets crowned queen, and to cheer on the athletes.

4. You live about an hour from just about everything

When I tell my college friends that I live an hour from the nearest Target, they think I'm joking. I'm being completely serious. If you needed some new clothes and shoes for school you had to make a whole day out of it. You also tried to schedule all of your doctors' appointments around the same time so you didn't have to make so many trips. An idea of a family outing meant going to a nice restaurant in "the big city" and seeing the newest movie. Something fun to do with my friends meant driving 30 minutes to get coffee, Sonic, or even just fooling around in Walmart. If we were really desperate, we even cruised the backroads listening to our favorite music.

5. You have so much respect for farmers and agriculture

I come from a family of farmers and my good friends in high school were daughters of cattle and dairy farmers. The farmers in my town are some of the kindest, smartest and most hardworking people I will probably ever meet. Seeing agriculture work in and out of my town has caused me to have so much respect for farmers and the industry. I've been caught behind a tractor and learned the hard way to not stop close to a stop-sign if a semi is turning my way. Yet I truly wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

6. High school relationships can get a little tricky

Dating in a high school of 100-something people was pretty hard. They were either related to you, taken, or like a brother to you. If you did find someone to talk to, there's a 90% chance that they've also talked to one of your friends. Most of the drama in my high school was an effect of someone dating someone else's ex.

7. You know everyone you graduated with

You don't just know them, you really know them. You know their full names, what their families do for a living, and who showed up at their kids' sporting events and who didn't. When you graduate with only 30-something other kids, it's hard not to know everyone on a super personal level.

8. When times get tough, people are always there for you

When a family of the community suddenly lost a loved one, the community immediately wrapped their arms around them and comforted them. Whether it was bringing meals to the grieving family, selling memorial T-shirts and bracelets, housing benefit dinners, or just being there for the family. If you were going through something heavy, someone always had your back.

9. You feel so loved coming home from college

I remember sitting in a lecture hall half the size of my hometown on the first day of classes and feeling overwhelmed. I thought, "How is anybody supposed to make friends at a college of 35,000 people?"

The first night home from college, I was welcomed home with open arms by everyone. I was reunited with former teachers, coaches, classmates, old friends and adults of the community. As much as I love college, it was so nice coming home to a place where everyone knows me.

10.  You couldn't of asked for a better upbringing

As much as I was ready to move to a bigger place after high school, growing up in a small town was the best thing I could ask for. It gave me a sense of community, support, and love that I wouldn't have been able to get elsewhere. My town sent me to college with enough support and encouragement to last a lifetime.

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If You Fill Every Minute Of Your Schedule With Work, You'll Feel Discouraged, Not Accomplished

Our feelings have more power than we think.

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When we start doing work, we set out with the point of trying to get it done. I personally set time brackets in which I do a certain amount of work. In this, I assume how much time something will take me and work as efficiently as I can to finish in the allotted time bracket.

However, once in a while, the work takes me much longer than anticipated and I become frustrated. I cannot get the questions right or there is just too much work to make sense of. All I want to do is give up and eat ice cream and even if I do this, I feel anxious about the fact that my work is not done. I feel stressed and that doing any type of work is of no use because I can't do it anyway. How can I get out of this funk? Sometimes I think I never will. Or is it that I don't want to?

All of us have had a moment of hopelessness about school, friends, or just life in general. I think that the best way to get out of it is to step back from the environment. When I am stuck on an Aleks problem (chemistry online homework) and want to scream at the computer, I just leave my desk and go for a walk. Trying to clear your mind of all the frustration and stress that is building up is necessary to see things from a fresh point of view.

We often are blinded by the frustration we feel and that disables our ability to take a breath and just work calmly. Feeling the overwhelming emotions makes us lose track of all the good things we have and if we allow it to, it will consume us for much longer than we imagined. Take breaks with your work and leave time for yourself. If you fill every minute of your schedule with work, of course, you will feel discouraged. You will be burned out. Every time you notice yourself becoming angry, do something to calm yourself down. Our anger has the power to destroy us, but only if we let it.

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