As a self-proclaimed nerd and try-hard, the idea of spending two nights a week getting hammered is appealing, yet revolting. On the one hand, it’s absolutely wonderful to be able to unwind after a few long, hard days of classes and seemingly endless hours spent in the library. But in hindsight, it’s dreadful. This apparent universally accepted binge drinking culture that completely abuses young minds and bodies is not okay.
About 58 percent of college students drink alcohol over the course of a month, and about two-thirds of that 58 percent reported binge drinking in that same span, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Binge drinking, for those not privy to the lingo, is repeatedly bringing your blood alcohol content to .08 g/dL or more. That technique fits in with the general college habit observed by many students—getting trashed Friday and Saturday nights and trying to recover on Sunday enough to possibly get some work done.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a couple of drinks—enough to have fun—other than the fact that it’s illegal for many college students. Yet somehow, it’s normal to break the law too.
Researchers found about 66 percent of students studying at an American university had used a fake I.D. to buy alcohol at least once while in college. It seems that as long as peers find it acceptable, the drinking age is just a number.
Put aside the legality; we’ve confirmed that it just gets shoved aside. Forget short-term consequences too; we’ve heard them all before.
Around 1,825 students die each year from driving while intoxicated and 696,000 students are assaulted by another student under the influence. We know, we know; don’t drink and drive, consent is key and never walk alone at night.
Except this isn’t another school lecture where we get bored after about five minutes and scroll through Instagram the rest of the time. Ramifications of heavy inebriation carry until you’re too old to even remember where you put your drink down.
One in four undergraduates admitted to academics being affected by binge drinking; missed classes, falling behind and doing worse overall. People aren’t in high school anymore. If you aren’t going to get your master’s, doctorate or medical degree, what you learn here—or don’t—is going to have a huge impact when you finally leave.
College is four short years, and yet it can have the greatest effect on our futures. Interests and talents get honed, strong relationships are forged and habits are developed. We play our hands now and the game will progress based on that. Second chances do come but they end up few and far between.
We need to start thinking and growing up now. Excessive drinking and lack of control doesn’t make you an adult—you’re just a child all over again. Liver failure, AA meetings and broken lives cost more than money.
Drinking can be enjoyable, but not when the whole night is forgotten and all that’s left is a hazy dream and dry mouth. It’s long past the time for the coveted college binge drinking culture to come to an end.