#5: Alcohol.

College students drink it. All. The. Time.

For the longest time, I was completely adamant against alcohol. I thought it was evil and I believed that anyone who drank alcohol was irresponsible; didn’t they realize the impairments it could cause? Didn’t they like their brain cells? I would frown at any plastic red cup of rum and coke people would offer me at parties; I’d dismiss participating in beer pong because I thought it was so stupid.

I still think beer pong is a dumb game, but I no longer view alcohol with this Mightier-Than-Thou, prohibitionist mentality. Alcohol is fine when drunk responsibly, but I have to wonder what it is about the drink that draws college students. Are our lives at a university so stressful that we really need to just conk out for a couple of hours?

I can certainly understand it. As a full-time student, I’ve found myself swamped with work and there are nights when I tell myself, “I need a drink” after an extremely long day of classes, as well as my part-time job at the school paper.

I always thought college kids just liked to booze up every weekend until they reached an unbelievable stupor. At parties, I’d witness this first-hand; close friends, very intelligent people, reduced to slurred speech and stumbling gaits. Becoming like them – completely unaware of their surroundings and trapped within murky thought – frightened me. In short, I was scared of drinking because I thought I would meet the same fate as my “trendy” pals – and I felt stupid about it because I didn’t think it was much fun.

I would ask myself, how is not being able to walk straight fun? I just never understood the culture behind it. Blame me for having a social worker for one of my parents, but it never clicked for me.

After I turned 21, I realized I needed to give alcohol a shot (no pun intended) and my views on it slackened. Something that has been drunk for thousands of years couldn’t be that bad, and I know I would be partaking the such drinks responsibly, with people who care about me.

I realized that not everyone drinks themselves into a stupor; yes, college students do imbibe, but not to the point that’s criticized and ridiculed in the media, with portrayals of crazy fraternity bashes and wild adults. I’d hate to know that my age group really was one huge stereotype – but I suppose that can be forgiven when individuals grow beyond those fleeting moments of fun when we contribute to worthy causes and become pioneers for whatever.

We can certainly drink to that.

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