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Why alcohol might be the most important part of college

“What do I think about beer? It’s one of the most important things here at college. It’s the substance that makes or breaks you. It’s the thing that makes you realize that you’re either ready for the real world or aren’t.” -Anonymous Loyola student

Not exactly what you expected, especially from a Loyola student, huh? Alcohol consumption is often thought to be one of the most critical parts of college. It is portrayed in movies as the focal point of college social life, the product that leads to good times and everlasting bonds, and the moments that you will look back on in 20 years and reminiscence about. Now, to some, alcohol consumption is not serious at all, in fact,  approximately 20 percent of all college students do not drink at all in their college years. For others, it is just the opposite. This raises the question, “Is alcohol important to one’s life here at college?” As a first-year student who has been here for a little over a month, I can truthfully say that yes, yes it is. Here’s why.

As the anonymous student I quoted above said, alcohol teaches a young man or woman how to balance their daily routines. Some will adopt the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle, studying hard during the week, and imbibing large quantities of alcohol on the weekend. Others will casually drink on weekends or weeknights, and others will rage until the break of dawn every night of the week. No matter what kind of a drinker you are at college, having alcohol present teaches you a fundamental lesson: self-control. Adapting to a healthy lifestyle where you are in charge of your own schedule, your own free time, academics, athletics and co-curricular activities and achieving a balance of everything on your platter is key in college. So, having the temptation to drink any day that you desire leaves you with some difficult decisions to make. Will you go out to drink and socialize or  study? Will you go to a party or stay in and watch movies? Will you cope with your troubles by drinking them away or by facing them head-on? These kinds of decisions are the ones that separate the general student population into two different categories, those who possess self-control and those who do not.
Regardless, you do have to reach a level of self-control in that you cannot drink every day, or else your drunken escapades will catch up with you. One has to understand that the extra freedoms you have at college come with risks, that you cannot always do what you want, but that you need to balance your life in healthy ways.

There is truth to that, in my opinion. When asked whether or not alcohol consumption is important in college, one particular student made a great point, saying that, “Alcohol can teach you self-control and important lessons and values in decision-making. At the same time, you usually come across this fact of life by making mistakes with it.” This quote brings up a great point that alcohol, though at times can be fun and enjoyable, teaches you lessons by throwing you into situations you would never expect. Some drunken nights where lives are threatened through alcohol poisoning, especially, can throw people into scary situations. College kids preach to younger ones to “know their limits,” and one can not truly understand their limits until those limits are pushed. This also begs the question: Why do we say that drinking is bad, yet there is a whole culture centered around the idea that “blacking out” from excessive drinking is hilarious? It really does not add up, in my opinion. But what can we learn from drunken nights where someone had a little bit too much? We can learn more and more how to not only control ourselves, but understand our human limits. It can give us a glimpse of our mortality, the fact that we are not invincible, and that we all have limits, that we are not immortal, despite what some of our mind’s may think.

We all know that college now is not solely the John Belushi Animal House lifestyle. College is not all centered around drinking and partying. It is about finding oneself, discovering the kind of person you are and who you want to be. It is not the best four years of your life, but it is the four that you learn the most about yourself and about how to manage a healthy lifestyle. Everywhere you look there will be temptations to drink, not just at Loyola, but at every college across the country. It will always be a culture that is frowned upon by many, but it is still one so largely popular that unless prohibition comes back, it will not be dying down any time soon. Alcohol consumption is an important part of college, and the lessons we learn through it can be carried on through adulthood.

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    AnonFeb 19, 2014 at 11:21 am

    This article fails to make a point of any kind.

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Why alcohol might be the most important part of college