Why do so many college students binge drink? In all 50 states of America, the legal drinking age is 21, yet so many underage college students suffer from health problems due to extreme amounts of alcohol consumption. Drinking in college has become a new ritual, so much so that the days of the week all have been transformed into a reason to drink. Formally known as Monday-Sunday have all been rebirthed into, “Messed Up Monday”, “Tipsy Tuesday”, “Wasted Wednesday”, “Thirsty Thursday”, “F***ed Up Friday”, S*** Faced Saturday, and even “Sunday Funday” – absurd right?
I myself am a college student solam aware of the pressures of drinking but I also am aware of the dangers of extreme amounts alcohol. There are some general challenges incoming freshmen especially undergo when transforming from high school to college such as environment change, the stressful work load and the excessive amount of peer pressure, so quite naturally searching for an outlet is common. With that being said, the best way to avoid seeking alcohol as an outlet, the best way to get through these tough times is by reaching out to various kinds of counselors offered at most universities.
The NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) fact sheet states, “About half of college students who drink, also consume alcohol through binge drinking. ” The most obvious reason for binge drinking among college students is because of the new-found-freedom they discover. For the first 18 years of their lives, they obeyed their parents as well as the law by not drinking or swindling around the law, either way, now they are now are not faced with those stipulations. Speaking from personal experience, it is very easy to get “trigger happy” because all the “do’s” that were once “don’ts” back at home.
On most traditional college campuses, alcohol is in arms reach 24/7, even if you are not old enough, it is all in who you know and what they can do for you. It is true the high school and college are different from one another but not only from the school work but with everything like sleeping habits, friends, and even eating habits. Chances are those who have been friends since sandbox days, will not go to the same college which means you will meet new people who may or may not like the things you like but that is okay because the quickest way to meet new people is at parties/gatherings.
As stated before, drinking has become a ritual, the best way to meet and bond with new people is with alcohol. It is very rare that parties on campus, even off but in the vicinity, will not have alcohol, for various reason, some that require caution. – Be aware of those who use alcohol as bait to harm others, more than 690,000 students have been victims of assault and over 97,000 students have sexually assaulted due alcohol-related incidents. – Along with being away from lifetime friends, some students may be in a new state, that fact alone can intimidating to most.
It is said that college is supposed to be the best 4-5 years of your life so it is understandable that students want to have a good time, though I do not think risk factors are taken into consideration when binge drinking. In addition to becoming accustomed to a new environment, getting used to heavy work load can be difficult for most. A typical week in college can included 2-3 classes that meet only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that last between 50-90 minutes versus in high school, where you are in at minimum 6 classes every day of the week.
Despite the time difference, a class you meet only 2 or 3 times a week, requires one assignment per week which sounds delightful but your other 3 or 4 other classes might also have an assignment due. In high school, homework was issued every day and expected to be completed by the next day, some could argue that was stressful but not as stressful as having multiple essays, power points, speeches, and labs due all around each other from most if not all of your classes. As an escape from the chaos, drinking the night away or binge drinking is preferred by most.
It is not an easy task to successfully make it through a semester in college without feeling incompetent for some or more reason but forgetting your responsibilities for a split moment is much simpler. Lastly, much like high school, peer pressure can be a major factor as to why students choose to binge drinking. A general statement used to pressure someone into doing something is “everybody does it” so what better way to fit in then doing what everyone is doing? There are those who go to college to gain knowledge and there are those who go for the freedom and parties.
Those who attend college for the good time are usually those who want others to join in some “fun” only those fun times can turn tragic, deadly even. Because so many people choose to go to college out of state, it is easy to get caught up in the lime light because they want to become familiar with their peers and surroundings. One myth about college is that it is one big party but that is exactly what it is, a myth. Those who are quick to fall under peer pressure tend to suffer most from binge drinking because they are not use to the effects whereas their influencers consider it to be routine.
As previously mentioned, being in new environment can be wearisome for new college students and all they want most is to be comfortable, the upperclassmen gravitate to freshmen because they are impressionable. It is believed that by the time you enter college you should not be prune to peer pressure, by this time you should know who you are and what you do and do not like to do but fighting the temptation is troubling for most. With all that has been said, binge drinking can be rooted from a number of reason but all of those reasons can be avoided.
Most universities and/or community colleges offer different type of counselors that can help for many different problems. If you find yourself stringing academically, there are academic advisors who can help with your organization skills to help your classes and assignment flow smoother. If and when you find yourself too overwhelmed with college there are counselors who you can confide in to help you reframe from seeking guidance in alcohol. It is not drinking in college that it the problem but binge drinking that is detrimental. College has so much to offer, it is important to not get caught up in one aspect of like partying.
Drinking is common among for young people which is why the drinking age should be changed, though that is a different subject that should be saved for a different time. The reason binge drinking is becoming so discussed is because it is destroying lives. College is about growing as a person, intellectually and morally, building new, life-long friendships and becoming who you truly are but alcohol is blocking those opportunities. Alcohol should drank socially, with moderation and not seen as an outlet for complications throughout college. Binge drinking in college has grown tremendously in recent years, studies say, but why?
College and its rigorous routine and hectic atmosphere is persuading more and more students to not only drink but binge drink alcohol to escape their problems. It is not a fact, mere speculation that those who binge drink do it for the reasons given prior but some do it simply because they enjoy it. The question is, is it college that is causing this frenzy or is the students? If college is there to give guidance and comfort, why are students willing to risk their wellbeing for drunken nights, blackouts that come along with binge drinking?