College students should be supported more in the choice not to drink

There is a lot of pressure to drink in college. Normal-seeming sociopathic men rape women incapacitated by alcohol. The best defense is not to drink. Not drinking also helps with grades. It’s a simple lesson that is difficult to get across. Students need more support from peers and college administrations to socialize without drinking.

I am not blaming the victim, just advocating ways to avoid becoming one.  A friend of mine who is a mother of 4 and a college administrator had this to say: “I am getting SO. MUCH. CRAP. for pointing this out. A further point is that by implying that people with vaginas are somehow incapable of protecting themselves from people with penises, we are effectively infantilizing supposedly adult women, and taking away their sexual agency.”

It took me till about age 45 and seeing a friend die of cancer to come to the realization that I didn’t have to pretend to like drinking, didn’t have to drink, didn’t have to drink to accommodate other people who were uncomfortable if they were drinking and I wasn’t, and in general could simply chose to live my life without that and let other people adapt to me on that score. I think if more students, especially Freshman, were given support and guidance to make that kind of decision, i.e. if the pressures were taken away and mitigated and ways of thinking and living were made more possible that didn’t involve lots of drinking, that a significant percentage of students would take the opportunity.

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2 thoughts on “College students should be supported more in the choice not to drink

  1. I have a child who is a college student. Did you know that there are “substance free” dorms? But, my kid has found that those dorms are oversubscribed at her college – she has been unable to get a room in one last year or next year. I’ve called and complained (I don’t usually helicopter, but I’m angry that we pay so much money and yet my kid has to live with secondhand smoke) – this stuff is illegal, yet kids who want to avoid it are unable to do so. Pisses me off no end. I’ve heard that there’s a shortage of substance-free dorms in other colleges as well.

    Leaving that rant aside, there’s more than avoiding alcohol that needs to happen to clean things up around this stinky mess.

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    1. Seems like an easy fix to allocate substance free dorm space to meet demand, it doesn’t cost them anything and would probably save money on wear and tear.

      The harder part is inculcating the idea that you can be yourself and have conversations and relationships without needing or yielding to other kids needs to introduce alcohol or cigarettes or drugs to the equation. I started college at the University of Virginia. The culture there revolves around 35 fraternities and fraternity recruitment and the pressure and expectation to drink is extremely high. To some extent that is very much the fault of the administration for not imagining better alternatives for the kids in their care.

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