Congratulations, you’ve made it to college! You’re now officially considered a mature adult. While you may have had a tearful goodbye as your parents drove away from your dorm, you’re now overwhelmed with an incredible feeling: independence! You will no longer be told when to be home by, banned from partying or who to hang out with. You’re now free to live your life any way you desire.
Now I can’t quite talk about freedom without mentioning college partying, and excessive alcohol use. You know what I’m talking about, you’ve seen it on Facebook, heard about it in high school, and can’t wait to get your party on at your first kegger! This is nothing to be ashamed of, going out and bonding with new friends is fun, but when does the partying and drinking go too far?
Going to off-campus parties and drinking are a part of college for many students. It’s a way to unwind, meet new people, and have fun. Of course, you always have the choice to drink or not, but nearly 74% of freshman experiment with alcohol at some point in the first 30 days of school. Partying on weekends is typically the norm, maybe even going out on a Thursday night, but there are definitely a few ways to tell if your drinking and partying may be problematic or a potential threat to your college career.
You’re Missing Class…A lot. Of course you’re going to a miss a few occasional classes. At some point or another you may accidentally over sleep, you’re sick or you’re just not feeling 8 am British Literature. These are all valid excuses, however if you’re constantly missing class because of drinking and partying you should probably think of reevaluating your current behaviors. In the beginning, it may just be an occasional missed class due to a bad hangover, but if your notice your behavior slowly snowballing to the point that you’re half way through the semester and only attend a few classes, it’s time to stop drinking.
Your grades are suffering. Partying on week nights and even all weekend will eventually impact your grades over time. Whether it’s from lack of studying, concentration or sleep, constant drinking will also impact your focus and memory. While you do have the freedom to do what you want, it’s important to still have priorities. If you have an upcoming test, partying may need to take the back seat for a few days. There will always be time to party on a Friday or Saturday night if you truly want to. Your grades are important to keep up. You don’t want to risk going on academic probation, failing a few classes or even being kicked out of school.
It’s easy to have the mentality that you have time to bring your grades back up, but in all reality, each semester can severely impact your overall Grade Point Average (GPA). This could mean the difference in getting into graduate school down the road, keeping an academic scholarship, or finding a job in the future.
Think of the future. Consequences of heavy drinking in college can play a major role in your future. If you have student loans, they will have to be paid back regardless of what you learned in college. The skills you learn in college are directly applied to your first major job. It all goes hand in hand; this took me a while to learn myself. The decision is solely on you to make the most of those years. There are many students who can still party or consume alcohol and be successful students; however, everyone’s work ethic is different. Once you manage your grades, partying every once in a while can fit in, you just have to create a balance of working hard and playing hard.
When deciding whether to drink alcohol off or on campus, you should make yourself aware of your campus’ policies on drinking or drug use. There can be severe consequences that will stay on your permanent record such as public intoxication, underage drinking or a DUI/DWUI. These charges can also impact your future career or close off opportunities you otherwise could have had.
Ultimately you’re an adult, and the choice is yours. If you’re going to drink, like many of your peers, know your limit and be responsible. Alcohol poisoning is extremely dangerous, so make sure you eat a good meal and stay hydrated with water before, during and after drinking. Never drink something from a stranger as it could be laced. Don’t over-drink to the point of blacking out, especially if you’re new to experimenting with alcohol, trust me you’ll thank me in the morning when you’re not spending most of the day hugging your toilet. For most college students these are no brainers, but it is still important to protect yourself and your future. Most importantly, cherish your college years; you will never get them back. College is an incredible time in your life, and not worth wasting by being drunk all the time.
Guest Author Bio
Melissa currently writes for St. Jude Retreats, a non 12 step alternative to traditional alcohol and drug rehab. She has worked extensively with non-profits in the past to create drug free work zones, and now leads the content development for St Jude’s. Along with being a manager in her former work experience, she has a Journalism Degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and has studied sociology as well. In addition to writing for St. Jude’s, Melissa enjoys blogging about health, relationships and advice.
Website: St. Jude Retreats