College Drinking Then and Now

by Caren on June 12, 2013

surviving_college-3026Like it or not, college life and drinking often go hand in hand. So what do you do, or think, or say when your own kid is soon to enter that four-year phase of alcohol meets academia? And will they really listen?

When I think back to my own college experience, the images that come to mind include lush green quads and the boundless energy of the students walking across them, the classes filled with youthful, eager faces (okay, not all so eager) and most certainly, the rousing football games with pitchers of bloody marys, the games of quarters and cheap beer, and the colorful jello shots that were a main attraction at many a late-night party.

Do I tell my daughters that nearly every night of the week, starting on tuesday, my crew of friends and I had a different bar we’d frequent once our studies were put to bed?

Times are different now. The legal drinking age isn’t 18, like it was when I was in college, and it seems that any level of moderation college drinkingwent out the window with the younger drinking age. Binge drinking is a big problem for college kids. So are incidents of sexual abuse, drunk driving, assault and death. (For a more elaborate list, check out A Snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences.)

“On average, college students in the U.S. purchase an estimated 430 million gallons of alcoholic beverages, including 4 billion cans of beer annually,” reports an article titled, How Much Drinking is too Much for Students? in Marshall University’s newspaper.

Those are pretty astounding numbers.

My older daughter just finished her sophomore year at college, and has adjusted to the so-called drinking life that seems inevitable on nearly every campus. I’d like to think we taught her how to make smart choices and sound decisions. I have another daughter who’s got one year to go before she, too, is off to college. I’ll just have to hope that when my younger one goes off to school, she’ll use her brain both in class and at parties. And that like her sister, she’ll be good to her brain and body. It’d be naive to think that her college experience will be alcohol-free. And that’s okay. I hope.

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