For the College Students
The fall semester begins soon, and many new college students will be away from home for the first time as adults. It seems likely that a small portion TMV readers are college students, and many other readers know at least one college student. Please feel free to forward this to any college students or young adults you know.
Hey guys. I know this is a pretty cool time in your lives: you are legally grown-ups; you are making new friends, some of whom are from wildly different places and have wildly different backgrounds than you; you are either deciding what you want to do “when you grow up” or actively working towards it; some of you are living on your own — or at least not with mom and dad — for the first time.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know your point of view is very different from mine. I read that list Beliot College makes every fall, even if I think they could have made better points. I was graduating college the year most of the class of 2012 was born! However, there are some things that don’t change, no matter how much they should.
And the one biggest thing that hasn’t changed but should is that you will know people who drink too much. Some of those people will do really stupid things as a result. Some of those people will die. Some of them will sadly cause someone else’s death. Some of them will have other horrible results.
There is a very good chance that one of the people you know who will drink too much is you.
I’m not so old that I don’t know the score. What, you don’t think I drank my share of beer in college? I know. Your friends are drinking and you want to fit in. Or maybe you’re pledging a frat/sorority and hey, you are willing to do whatever the pledge captain says. And for the first time in your life, there’s nobody you have to call and check in with, nobody who will care if you don’t drag your butt into bed before 3 AM if at all. You control your own schedule — well, except for that one 8 AM class that you had to take — and you are responsible for your own decisions. Nobody is blaming you for saying “I can have a beer if I want to, and nobody is going to stop me!”
I’m not going to go all holier than thou and talk about how the legal drinking age is still 21. The fact is that even so, you’re legally an adult at 18, and entitled to make your own decisions, no matter how stupid. Nor am I going to preach about drunk driving. If those gory films in driver’s education didn’t persuade you that it’s a bad idea that can get you arrested or get you into a horrible wreck, nothing I can say is going to change your mind.
What I am going to say is to please use your head. Moderation is a good thing. Unlike that casserole your mom used to make, there is no rule that says you have to finish that mug of beer or bottle of hard liquor. It’s ok to not “have seconds,” let alone thirds and beyond. It’s ok to say “I’m fine, maybe I’ll have another one later.” You can use that 8 AM class or your job — it turns out 46% of you ladies and 36% of you guys have at least part time jobs, good for you! — as a perfectly valid excuse for why you won’t be having another drink. Do you honestly think your Dad or your Granddad has never said something like “Sorry guys, I’d better not have another. Gotta work in the morning”?
Please. Don’t be the guy who made the papers by dying of alcohol poisoning. Or the girl who wrapped her car around a telephone pole and killed her best friend. Or the guy who fell down the stairs and broke his leg, but didn’t notice until he tried to walk away. Or the girl who woke up with no underwear and no memory of the prior evening. Or the guy who woke up with some girl he doesn’t even know. Or the girl whose friends and family are begging her to get help, at least go to an AA meeting. Or the guy who is flunking all his classes because he spends too much time drunk and not enough time studying.
These things happen every year on college campuses across our nation.
Please, don’t let it be you.
This is a revised version of a post written by Bridget Magnus at ShortWoman.com in 2007. She wishes it were not still relevant. Please feel free to forward the text to the young adults in your life with credit to TheModerateVoice.com and Mrs. Magnus.