"Why Aren't You Drinking?"

“Why Aren’t You Drinking?”
          This is my fourth year as a college student, and I have realized how much drinking effects students. Two years ago, I lived with a girl who worked incredibly hard during the school week. She was involved in three clubs, top in her class, worked out every day, worked at the university and was on the honor roll. How did she relax during the weekend from her busy schedule? She would drink. A lot. She barely slept, and then worked extra hard during the week to make up for the loss of sleep. She never relaxed. It came to a point that I sat down with her and told her I was worried. She may seem completely fine to others, but as her roommate and best friend, I knew she wasn’t. “You need to relax and focus on yourself” I said. She was bewildered, yet incredibly thankful I spoke with her. “It’s just what college students do, right?”
          Movies, songs and social media make it seem like it’s the norm that all college students drink. Based on the AlcoholEDU Transcript, in the past year 38% of incoming students did not drink alcohol. Students who reported drinking over the prior two weeks, male students consumed and average of 4.39 drinks and female students consumed an average of 2.88 total drinks.  Surprising right?
          It’s perfectly normal to be with your friends and say no to that beer. Some of my friends ask “why aren’t you drinking? What’s wrong?” Nothing at all, but I have work at 8:00 am and I’m poor! Or maybe I don’t have an excuse at all, and I just don’t want to drink. Either way, it’s completely fine to be sober. Or if you do want a beer or two, just make sure you know how you feel after and wait a few hours to drive, or don’t drive at all. Drinking tends to be a social event, and it’s perfectly normal to say no.

          Did you know UAF has a pub on campus to advocate safety? Many students 21 and older live on campus. Instead of driving to a pub elsewhere, students can walk within minutes to the pub and walk back to their dorm. It’s crucial to understand college is much more than wishing it was the weekend, drinking, then dreaming about the weekend again. My advice is learning what you personally feel comfortable with, and make sure your life involves more than dreaming about the weekend and relaxing by drinking.   

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