99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

17 Dec

There are some adults who call into question the pervasive socially accepted norm of drinking in college. They challenge that society should not only quit enabling such problematic habits, but that those habits are, in fact, alcoholic. I disagree. Not about the part that heavy binge drinking, hazing, vandalism, frequent drunkenness, or any underage consumption during college should not be an acceptable right of passage overlooked in higher education. I think applying the sweeping generalization that every college student that partakes in such behavior is alcoholic, minimizes the severity of the disease.

First–what is the motivation of the student to drink irresponsibly during college? You would be hard-pressed to find a college student who doesn’t drink–or has never had a drink. Either/or. Reasons for drinking during the college years include:

1. New found freedom. No parents. No one hassling you to follow their rules, because you live in their house. No adult constantly sniffing down your neck. This is the first time many 18 to 20-somethings have been logistically ABLE to consume alcohol.

1.5. As such, these youth do not know HOW to drink. They are not familiar with their limitations. And there are no clear cut rules for this. It depends on size, gender, fitness, time span in which drinks are consumed, what alcohol is imbibed, food eaten that day–the factors are endless. It’s different for everyone, and not consistent to every situation. No wonder teens and 20-somethings overindulge–they have not been taught by a responsible adult the WAY to drink because the U.S. enforces those pesky age limits–which occur during college, when kids are away from home.

2. Drinking and partying is pervasive. Some would argue that in order to build a social network (offline) you must drink with fellow students. It’s in the dorms. It’s at sporting events. Alcohol is at classy fundraising events. It’s everywhere. And very accepted as the norm.

 

3. This is not just a college problem. Our culture likes to drink:

Superbowl (or any sporting event), Independance Day, Memorial Day, or weekend = beer.

Thanksgiving and Christmas = spiked egg nog.

New Years Eve, graduation, anniversary, and Valentine’s Day = champagne.

During Easters, classy adult functions, and weddings = wine.

Cinco de Myo = margaritas and mojitos

St. Patty’s Day = any alcohol you can get your hands on–as long as you drink til you puke.

Can you see why, even outside of college culture there is intense pressure to drink. Pretty much every festivity or occasion calls for people to saturate their liver.  Next installment–alcoholism is a serious disease, unlike the transient social impediment of unhealthy drinking habits of college students.

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