Thank you so much, Mom and Dad, for letting me drink in high school.

My parents are in the middle; they’re not strict but they also don’t let me do whatever I want. They set rules in place for me and my siblings, and we always knew there would be consequences for breaking those rules. That saying, they trusted me a lot in high school. I didn’t have a curfew, I could come and go as I pleased (if I told them where I was going), and they let me be a teenager.

I’m not a spoiled kid whose parents let me do everything I wanted.

I earned the right to that freedom. I earned their trust by keeping a job to pay for everything myself, by getting good grades and trying hard in school, and by always showing that I respected the rules they did make me follow.

Now, I’m not thanking my parents because I loved to get wasted every night and party all the time. I’m thanking them because they allowed me to test my limits in high school so that when I got to college, I wasn’t the drunk girl crying on the curb at 2 A.M.

One of my long-time friends grew up with very strict parents. She wasn’t allowed to drive until she was 18, she rarely could go out on the weekends, and she definitely wasn’t allowed to drink. Like most teenagers, she broke those rules on occasion, but for the most part, she was horrible at sneaking around and often ended up grounded. She is now a freshman at a small mid-west school where she gets drunk every night. All I hear about is how drunk she got the night before and all I can think is “It’s a Tuesday. What are you doing?”

She has gone crazy.

College is supposed to be a time where you let freedom ring and take advantage of no parent supervision, but that doesn’t mean you should drink your weeks away.

I knew this would happen. I can’t tell you how many people I have met whose parents were super strict in high school and now they didn’t know how to control themselves in college. I know how to have fun and still remember what happened the night before and can function the next day. Many kids who grew up in strict households struggle with their new freedom and don’t know self-control because they were always under 24/7 supervision.

If you’re this student, remember you are in college to study and get a degree. I’m not saying get straight A’s but focus on school more. Parties happen Thursday through Sunday and there is plenty of time to have fun then; that’s what the rest of us do. No one will judge you for not going out all the time, but people are judging you for your constant wasted state.

Reputations form easily and they are hard to get rid of.

Start college on a good note, please.