College is often touted as the best four
years of your life, due to the seemingly care-free lifestyle full of freedom
and new experiences. Often times, this freedom leads to lots of
experimentation, including wild parties with alcohol abundant. It all seems
like harmless fun and games while you’re dancing with your friends and doing
keg stands, but drinking in college can come with many consequences. Some consequences leave us wondering, is it really worth it? Read on
to find out why college is so dangerous and how you can stay safe at school.
According to recent data compiled by 12 Keys Rehab in
Florida, of the 21.6 million students who attend college,
17 million undergrads consume alcohol regularly. That’s twice the population of
New York City. Of those 17 million students, 50% of them, or 8.5 million, binge
drink. That’s like the whole state of Virginia being drunk at once!
Every week the average freshman in college
has five alcoholic beverages. While the average female has four drinks and the
average male pounds nine drinks. The video, embedded below, puts into
perspective how much college students actually drink.
With the amount and frequency that college
students consume alcohol, there is no doubt that it’s a costly extracurricular
activity. In fact, each year the average college student spends $500.00 on
alcohol, which is enough money to pay for textbooks for one semester. The
extensive budget that college students reserve for alcohol may be a big reason
that they can only afford to eat Ramen noodles and pizza.
The Consequences Outweigh the Benefits
Aside from the cost of alcohol
consumption, drinking in college also takes a toll on health and performance in
school. Each year college students suffer major consequences from alcohol
consumption. In one year, 1,825 students between the ages of 18-24 will die due
to alcohol and 690,000 undergrads will suffer from assault while under the
influence. The list of negative occurrences due to alcohol increases as many
students become victims of sexual abuse, crime,
become injured or even find themselves in jail.
Drinking in college can also hugely impact
a student’s academic performance. As the average student is drunk 10.5 hours
per week, time spent studying can be greatly reduced. In fact, 25% of students’
studies take a hit when they drink, causing them to miss class, do poorly on
exams and have lower grades overall.
Proceeding with Caution
With all the negative consequences
surrounding drinking, it’s important to either avoid drinking altogether
(especially if you are underage!) or find ways to consume with caution. If you
still plan on imbibing but want to do it safely, try to keep track of how many
drinks you’ve had and know your limit. Be sure to drink plenty of water along
with your drinks – advise consuming equal amounts of water and alcohol. Make
sure your beverage source is safe and not from a stranger. Finally, never go to
a party by yourself and never get into a car with a driver who has been
If alcohol consumption seems too risky,
there are plenty of other ways to spend your weekends. Surround yourself with
friends who aren’t interested in drinking either and you’ll have just as much
fun without all of the consequences.
As college students are notoriously
thirsty, it’s almost impossible to avoid alcohol altogether. However, if you
stay aware, safe and in control you can avoid a lot of health consequences and
stay out of trouble with the law.
Adrienne is a freelance writer and designer. In college she started
Wellness Housing with her roommate, a drug and alcohol free living space for
students who chose not to drink. She loves that even after graduating, she has
had the chance to continue promoting alternatives to our society’s drinking
culture. To get in touch, follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or check out her
design blog, Design Roast.