My friends always joke that I am like an old lady because I would much rather stay in than go out. However, when I started college I wanted to have the experience that we see in the movies. I wanted to fit in, and that, I thought, required partying… a lot of partying.
My first semester of college I did exactly that. I went to parties, I had one too many drinks and made one too many mistakes. I thought that would make me happier, that I would feel like a part of something for the very first time.
After a few months I realized I was not happy and began losing myself in the process, not to mention my grades were screaming for help.
About four out of five college students drink alcohol. About 25 percent of these are receiving lower grades, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The problem lies in the consequences that come with getting drunk.
When alcohol reaches the brain, it first affects your behavior, making you less self-conscious, according to Mack Lemouse’s the Health Guidance Organization article, “What happens when you get drunk.”
A study by Elizabeth Armstrong, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, and her colleague Laura Hamilton of the University of California Merced, followed women through their college years, observing how decisions they made in college affected them when finding their first job.
They found out that women who fall under peer pressure are affected in the long term, while women who do not chose partying over studying are only affected short term.
“The pressures these young women encounter make it very difficult for them to focus on academics. For many, the experience is not a good one, and we found that it can affect the trajectories of their lives for many years to come,” Armstrong said in her study.
The solution for this problem is not to pretend that we can stop people from drinking, but rather for college students to understand the importance of balancing their social lives and their studies.
“Students today study less, party more and spend more hours in time-consuming and academically distracting internships and extracurricular activities than at any time in the past. Clearly, then, something larger is at work,” according to Dan Reimold’s USA Today article, “Students study less, party more…and earn higher grades?”
College students should be old enough to realize that they do not need to get drunk to enjoy a party, to be able to dance or to talk to someone.
The experiences we have in college should be memories we can remember forever, but how would you remember those moments if every time you go out you drink until you black out? Do not let your story end in consecutive memories of blacking out, find your balance and have fun.