mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, March 06, 2006

College drinking: a reflection

Once a month at the college I work at, we have what they call "all hands" meetings, where everyone has to attend. They frequently have speakers from other college departments, who usually cover issues relevent to employees of the college - stuff like the sexual harassement policy or the emergency evacuation procedures.

But recently we had a speaker from the Department of Drug and Alchol services. The main purpose was to remind us that the college would like to have a more positive attitude and less emphasis on the drinking culture, so when dealing with students and student employees, we should not encourage alcohol consumption or swap drinking stories.

Now, changing attitudes about drinking is difficult - our college regularly gets into the top 10 list from the Princeton Review for such topics as "most beer" and "most hard liquor" (as well as best dorms and worst library). But much of the presentation was pointing out the fact that many people participate in community service or go to museums and symphony concerts.

Of course, many students manage to balance community service and drinking, trips to the symphony and trips to the bars.

I had an odd relationship with booze in college. I didn't drink at all my freshman year, and only drank a couple times my sophomore year.

Then, for some reason, come junior year, it was on. My junior year was an alcohol-soaked blur. Part of the reason was that we had a Dutch roomate, who was both an influence and a hook-up for us. But most of it was just several of my roomates and I decided we wanted to drink.

Junior year was the year that, in a drunken rage after one of my roomates spilled two of my beers in a short amount of time, I chased him to his room and knocked his bedroom door off it's hinges. It was a time I was regularly doing shots with my roomates at 4 in the afternoon, and frequently hung over during my 8am Economics class.

By senior year, my drinking tapered off. Sure, there was plenty of drinking, but it seemed to be balanced a little better.

But for those two final drunken years of college, I still managed to do OK - my GPA was higher my drunken junior year than the two years before - probably due more to getting a couple tough prereqs out of the way than anything else, but I still managed to graduate Cum Laude with a 3.6 GPA despite the booze, while participating in a several clubs and our schools Honor's Program.

And I came out OK - I don't drink much nowdays, and when I do it's mostly wine with dinner or a beer and a cigar at the end of the day. Mostly, I don't have time to drink - I have too much stuff to do to be buzzed - and because I don't have roomates to drink with or egg each other on.

But I'm think one can balance an active academic or work life with the occasional game of beer pong or shot of Jagermeister. College drinking is tough, because colleges don't want to encourge it - because of legal liability, because it diminishes the academic repuation of the school, and because occasionally people have very bad results from drinking, including the occasional death. But at the same time, lots of people come out of their drunken college antics with some good stories and a better ability to balance work and parties.


Post a Comment

<< Home