College is often portrayed as being synonymous with parties, alcohol and the social impact those things may have on the “college experience.”
Wanting to have a good time and be social isn’t wrong. In fact, it is something that is often encouraged as part of the college lifestyle. But binge drinking — especially as a means of relieving anxiety and insecurities, or to hide underlying problems — is simply unhealthy and incredibly damaging to yourself and those around you.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking in excess during one occasion. For women, this is four or more drinks and five or more drinks for men during one sitting.
According to surveys conducted by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 40 percent of college students of all ages reported binge drinking at least one week prior to taking the survey. On top of that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2015 the Great Plains states have the highest rate of alcohol poisoning deaths.
Recently, the North-American Interfraternity Conference voted to ban hard alcohol from fraternity facilities starting September 2019.
A 20-year-old South Dakota native and student at the University of Minnesota died three weeks ago in an Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house. He was a 4.0, animal science major and a student leader at UMN who shared his infectious personality with his peers. His family and friends knew him as a loving and peaceful soul. He was found unresponsive at 5 a.m. by his fraternity brothers. Alcohol is suspected to have played a role.
The dire consequences of binge drinking are not worth the risk. Learning to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning can save lives. If you see someone passed out from drinking too much, never assume they can simply “sleep it off.”
Never assume that they’ll be fine by morning. Don’t allow someone who’s passed out to be taken advantage of. Your call for help could save their life.
As human beings, we want to fit in, belong and be part of a collective. Finding people we identify with is an essential part of our development as young adults.
Join a club or team, start a study group in your dorm or spend time with friends who encourage you to pursue healthy habits. Personally, I love getting pulled out of my comfort zone to participate in things like Zumba with my friends who are far more athletic.
There are safer, healthier ways to manage stress, anxiety, depression and trauma, than drinking. On-campus counselors, university-approved events and activities and any number of other social events SDSU and Brookings offer are great ways to make memories.
It really isn’t necessary to binge drink to have the “college experience.” Happiness can be found while being your creative, sober self.
If you consider binge drinking, be sure to ask yourself whether someone truly cares about your well-being. Do you think they’d stay sober to take care of you if something happens?
Don’t take the risk. Be smart, safe and watch out for each other.
Alison Simon is a Family is an agricultural communications major and can be reached at [email protected]