I do not say this out of pride, but one of the biggest parts to college for many is partying. Regardless of the legality of it, it still happens throughout colleges and it is no secret. We need to instill better drinking habits into our culture. In America, you’re not supposed to have your first drink until you’re twenty-one. Some states will allow private drinking in the home with the permission of parents but that is not the case for the whole country. This is the law but the reality is that it is not followed, and individuals will start drinking in high school and college. Often times, it is in secrecy and with adults out of the picture. Because of the laws, teens feel the need to hide and binge on alcohol.
The law to be 21 is so harsh and instilled in health classes across the country. People become curious about why it alcohol only for people who are 21 and what it feels like to be drunk/tipsy. As well as their own/other personal interactions with alcohol because of parents or family, and the media. Alcohol is fairly accessible, it’s not like you have to go through someone to find out where some is. Cans and bottles line the shelves of stores across the United States. If you watch television there’s at least one alcohol ad in each sitting.
So we’re not supposed to drink until we’re 21 but the media glorifies it, teachers demonize it, and you might see loved ones close to you doing it as well. This sends mixed messages to the brain. Then when you get to college there is newfound freedom, and sometimes even easier access to alcohol. Alcohol is often tied to binge culture. That’s why funnels, keg stands, shots, beer pong, and other drinking games exist. Everyone’s always trying to find a way to become intoxicated the fastest. Sometimes people drink with the goal of not remembering the night before. A lot of us accept this behavior as normal or expected. Why are we pretending binge drinking and damaging our bodies is fun? Why are we not checking our friends more? Why do we allow this unhealthy behavior to continue as normal and expected?
There is not one answer to these questions and many possible solutions. I think a lot needs to be done and fixed in several areas. I think laws about the age need to be discussed, frat/sorority culture needs to be looked over, as well as the education we give about alcohol, and the words/conversations surrounding it. The solutions vary and involve political and state institutions. That may not be your fight but you can start small and individually.
We need to start thinking that our friends are our responsibility at all times – especially when drinking and partying is involved. There’s a difference between suggesting and checking up on friends and being coercive. Maybe we should stop encouraging shots if a person is not comfortable with them, or stop the thinking that if I do this, you need to too. I think it’s clear when someone says no that they don’t want something. The point is not to beg and call them a bitch till they do it.
I hope one day we can stop more people from blackout drunk nights, sickness, binge drinking and damaging our bodies. It starts with the little connections and relationships you have. It’s good to have fun, but safely!!