If in any other context someone were to be invited into a stuffy room filled with zombie-like young adults becoming brain dead to the drone of a dry old professor, it would provoke a hard “no”. But the media, with the aid of baby-boomer parents, has promoted college degrees as the only way to get a paying job. As new freshmen find their way around campus and into a lifetime of debt, it is important to realize that sobriety is stressful, and it is okay to say no.
The National Institute of Drunkenness and Drinking says the first six weeks of college are the most likely time for students to develop bad habits as they conform to social pressures and the image of what they believe college should be like. Unfortunately, being a good student is so emphasized in pop culture that it is difficult to comprehend enjoying your college experience. Over 80 percent of students fail to realize how relaxing an occasional drink is, and nearly 20 percent never even get to enjoy a beer with their friends. But as the age-old advice goes, just because everyone else is sober, doesn’t mean mean you should be too.
Between classes, work, sleep, and studying, college students only have an average of four hours a day to really fuck off. Spending this time sober can really restrict from making bad decisions while it’s still early enough to not make a significant difference in their lives. Worse still, many students fail to spend any of that time even trying to chill out, instead spending it asleep in the library. In fact, one in four college students admits that the lack of partying has negatively affected their grades, and are good grades not the reason we’re going into lifelong debt in the first place?
Just last weekend I was lounging on the horseshoe, and out of nowhere, a nearby sober boy ruined my buzz. Unfortunately, party fouls like this are quite common. Even without being sober, students are still stressed just by being present with sober peers. Nearly 700,000 students are diagnosed with depression each year, not to mention the nearly 2,000 who have no social connections due to the lack of drinking. Partying in college is something the media has done well to portray as wrong – something that will condemn them as a failure in their parents’ eyes. Yet the irony is that in trying to earn their parents’ approval, students’ lack of partying has made them more disappointing than ever.
Believe it or not, there is actually nothing on to do on campus that isn’t improved by being drunk. Over 400 student organizations exist on campus, and while Columbia is a small city, it is a city with plenty of access to bootleggers and fake IDs. And by meeting people this way, you’ll still be laughing together in the retirement home about that story that starts with “hold my beer”. Life may be short, but the time in college shorter, so don’t throw away your precious four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars being sober.