It’s something parents warn their children about when they bring them to college. It’s something that “everyone” does and it’s something that most college students aren’t legally allowed to consume until they’re 21.
Movies and television shows depict college life to be this extravagant drinking atmosphere, but they never really portray the aftermath of their irresponsibility. And because of this and the natural belief of invincibility, college students will get themselves into trouble when drinking.
Often, it isn’t the act of consuming alcohol that makes it the issue. It’s the lack of prior experience with alcoholic beverages. Granted, consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal, but realistically speaking, most college students choose to ignore the law.
The correlation with college and drinking shouldn’t be taken as a need to punish students in attempt to completely get rid of this issue. A situation like this needs to involve educating new adults on the act of responsible drinking.
It is nearly impossible to try to ignore drinking on college campuses. Even on a campus such as ours, that restricts any alcohol on campus, it is unrealistic to believe it still doesn’t happen.
The common goal for college students on a weekend isn’t just to consume a few casual drinks as most adults do in a social setting. A college student understands the potential harms of drinking too much, but the goal is getting to the point of belligerence.
When underage adults are drinking, responsibility is subsided to wanting to have more fun. They believe fun can only come from a large consumption of alcohol and safety is no longer considered. Perhaps it’s because most don’t understand their limits of becoming severely intoxicated as opposed to casually drinking.
This is why some parents allow their children to consume a limited amount of alcohol in a safe environment. Twenty-six states allow adults under the age of 21 to consume alcohol on private property with the presence of a legal guardian. Although South Dakota is not one of those, states like Minnesota or Iowa do allow this to happen.
There are many pros for this law. The necessity for a legal guardian to be present when consuming alcohol underage, drinking responsibly is learned. For example, if a young adult sees and begins to understand the appropriate amount to get them drunk or buzzed there would no longer be the fear of blackout.
When alcohol starts to turn into something more casual instead of an excuse to gain confidence, that’s when responsibility is established.
There’s a reason why the drinking age is what it is. A typical college student moves away from home and in order to do well, he or she must learn how to succeed on their own and this is their first introduction to true responsibility. By the age of 21 enough has gone on in an adults’ life to understand their own liability.
In the end, alcohol is going to remain active in some college students’ life, but some sort of education needs to implement order to ensure safety. This could mean more than a talk between parent and child on alcohol safety.
Most of the time, students don’t understand the true harm years of excessive drinking have on their brains and mental health. They’re too concerned about the festivities the rest of the night holds, and when they’re caught with alcohol on campus, the faculty is to blame instead of taking responsibility for themselves.
Too many preventable deaths or injuries occur because of incorrectly consuming alcohol and more needs to be done to change this. Education and talking openly about the subject of alcohol can help immensely.
Lauren Kremer is an HDFS major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]