Writing truthfully and openly about alcohol is not easy
because I neither want to seem judgmental nor to scare away future employers.
However, it’s a rather important and relevant issue. Recently
Scripps has made necessary changes to its alcohol policy to give amnesty to
students who need medical care after drinking too much. While most of the
students at Scripps or the other Claremont Colleges will not actually have to
be in a situation that involves this policy, many unhealthy drinking behaviors
do thrive at the colleges. Our colleges are some of the best in the nation for
teaching—but not at teaching students how to drink.
not the schools’ fault directly—they host many great events that serve a
limited amount of alcohol and foster conversation. It’s rather the
drinking styles in most colleges and universities around the country that are at
fault. There is not much that schools can do to convince all teenagers and
young adults around the U.S. to change the drinking culture—we are talented but
not that talented. However, students
can do little things to change the drinking atmosphere around them.
of all, we need to understand why changing
attitudes toward drinking are a good thing. I am not saying that every person
who goes to Pub is an alcoholic careening toward a life of misery and failure
or that everyone should view me as a perfect role model bestowed upon Claremont by
God. I am just trying to make the point that a person who does have problems
with drinking can easily feel a little lost when trying to stop or assessing if
they need to stop. Sometimes telling other college students that you want to
quit drinking is like an episode of Full House, where you feel like DJ Tanner
trying to say “no” to the cool kids. It’s usually fine if it only happens one
night. However, DJ only had to deal with that scenario once. College students, on the other hand, may have to watch the same ‘90s sitcom episode—but with
better clothes—unfold several times a week.
you have problems with drinking, this minor but constant pressure can break your
resolve over time. Newton’s third law applies not only to motion, but also to
refusing drinks at parties. To every action there is always an equal and
“Oh, you have to get up early tomorrow?
Well, just have one drink.”
“Oh, you have too much work? Well,
you work too hard, you need to have something to relax.”
“Oh, you are worried about drinking
too much? Well, it’s college. You are supposed to drink this much.”
“Oh, you think you are an alcoholic?
No, you aren’t. Now, that Jane Doe girl is an alcoholic. But you aren’t
anything like her.”
For whatever reason a person has not to drink, someone else can think of many more reasons to drink. However,
reasons like the ones aforementioned are not always good reasons to drink. A
person may not be an alcoholic, but it seems rather silly to need that
qualification in order to start controlling one’s drinking. We might as well decide to
put on our seat belts only after a car crash with that type of logic. Also, comparing
yourself to other people is a problematic way of measuring one’s drinking
stability, because as long as Lindsay Lohan roams this earth you can always
find someone who drinks more than you.
Judging whether people have
drinking problems should not be taken lightly, because there are more types of
problem drinkers than the sitting-on-a-curb-drinking-from-a-paper-bag drunks.
Sometimes it’s a matter of frequency, sometimes it’s about not being able to
stop drinking after one glass, and sometimes it’s about what you do when you are drunk. We also need to take drinking
habits seriously because it is so hard for people to analyze themselves
properly. Because, face it, at the times when you need to look seriously at how
drinking affects you, you will probably be drunk.
There are people who think
that everyone drinks all of the time. Yet this is not so, and those who have this perception are deluding themselves. Problem
drinkers might ask a friend to drink, but when that friend turns them down,
they just call up someone else. Therefore, it seems that drinking is always
happening, but in reality it’s never the same people all the time. Also, many people tend to
surround themselves with those who have similar drinking styles. So if a person recognizes the
good or bad drinking habits of their friends, it can help them learn about themselves.
So, the conclusion of this long
ramble is not to place judgment on anyone, but to encourage people to
recognize the good or bad drinking behaviors within their social circles and in
themselves. If a friend is questioning his drinking, don’t be afraid to let
him cut back on the alcohol. He can still be just as fun and crazy, but maybe
now just a little more coordinated.