Warning: this post may not be suitable for parents. This post may cause slight anxiety.
Once there was a girl eager to experience her first college party as a freshman. She and her six new friends from the residence halls headed off campus to a popular house for parties. The Football House. Not long after the party was going, and several Solo cups gone, the cops arrived. The girl was pushed out the back door into a small fenced-in backyard. Fellow students were beginning to panic. Getting out of the yard toward the front was not an option. Cops! The gate to the back alley was locked or simply not opening for the drunken operators. Before she knew it, the girl was hoisted over the 6-foot fence by a large anonymous boy and caught on the other side by a student of equal strength and size (presumably football players).
Many of you might be heading into your first weekend as a college student this weekend. You too might be excited and eager to experience your first taste of independence. There might be many options for parties and drinking. You and your newest friends might decide to head out and see what college fun is about. If you are a freshman female, it is even more likely that you will be welcomed into any party you decide to attend at the fraternities, and the drinks will be free.
Let me ask you to think about a few things before you go. (Notice, I am not telling you to stay home – as I know that might not be realistic.)
- Think about who you are going out with. How long have you known them? Would they have your back – if needed? Would they make sure you are not left alone? Would they care if you had too much to drink? Do YOU care if these “new friends” have too much to drink? How do you feel about holding back someone’s hair while they puke?
- Think about how you want to get home. Hopefully, how you get home is ONLY on foot!! Not in a car or worse, an ambulance. Is it ok to come back with less than the number of friends you went out with?
- When do you want to be home? I’m not asking you to think about whether after midnight is too late. I am asking you to reflect on whether you wish to return to your room the next morning? Are you comfortable walking across campus in your clothes from the night before? This is commonly referred to as “the walk of shame”. You might want to tell yourself you will wake up in your bed – and without a guest appearance from someone you’ve just met. How would you feel if your roommate had a guest?
My point is, use the common sense your parents have instilled. Yes, we all make mistakes – sometimes even without alcohol being involved. Alcohol and good decision-making usually don’t mix. Unfortunately, if you make a wrong decision at your age, it can have ramifications that could change your educational and career path before it even begins. Education and Criminal Justice majors are often thought of as the first majors/careers that would be ruined with an underage drinking charge, but there are others.
Are you curious about the girl from above? Her major could have been tossed over the fence as quickly as she was (or out the door, out the window, into the trash – you can apply whatever imagery you prefer). Instead, she and a few other fellow partiers (who made it over the fence) ran and laughed up the alley and eventually found their way to safety….or another party. The students that didn’t get out of the house had charges brought up against them. She was lucky. They were not. Why take the chance?