The writer is 20 and attends college in Camarillo, CA.
As a student in college, it’s hard to suddenly find yourself free of your parents. This is a time where you suddenly find yourself making choices that you never had to make before. We are all human, we always have and always will still learn from all our mistakes. Before I entered college I didn’t get a lot of education about alcohol use. I mean, I saw people my age drinking casually and had seen pictures of high school parties that were wild, and of course I had seen the movie Project X. But these are not always apt descriptions of party life.
My first year in college, I made the usual friends. As the semester started, I got asked more and more to go to the parties, but I was a fresh out of high school student who had never been to a party like that before.
“No,” I said, “I am not ready to do that.” They respected that.
After a few months had passed, I attended a party. I went with some close friends and drank. I drank more than what I should have had the first time drinking.
After that moment, I began to question: What is the point? What is the thrill? Is it just the fact that is booze here? And the biggest: Will I be able to make it?
I was afraid. I was in a house I did not know. I was in a city I’m not familiar with. But I got really lucky. I was with friends that I had known for long enough that I could trust. I woke up the next morning back in my friend’s room as he sat there watching me. I could not remember much of what had happened or how I had gotten to his room. I realized at that moment, What could have happened if he had not been there with me or if he just left without me? I was lucky to have had such good friends with me who helped me when I was unable to stand and able to do the most basic things.
Alcohol companies give drinking so much appeal; it must be no surprise to them that underage students want to drink their products. They give alcohol sex appeal. Advertising targets men who want to be worldly, women who wish to seem more attractive.
This is a problem on all campuses, no matter how small the school. I have learned the lesson that drinking is not as glamorous as they try to make it seem. Not to mention that most undergrads are under the legal drinking age. Teens who are caught with alcohol can be charged for underage drinking and possession with intent to distribute. It can have devastating on your record, ruin your chances of being in college, and it will never leave your record where future employers can see it.
But the largest part is what happens to those who have never made it home. Those who are left behind. Those who did not have a friend such as mine. According to niaaa.nih.gov, 5000 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol related incidents, be it alcohol poisoning, car crashes, or even being left unattended and choking on their own vomit. Its not worth the risk. You may say that it will never happen to you, but others have said it, and some didn’t make it home to their parents.