College, alcohol and personal choices

(U-WIRE) STOCKTON, Calif. – School once again is in session. Students must get used to early morning classes and late-night studying. It is time once more for thirty-hour cram sessions and living on nothing but coffee and cup of noodles.

Classes will inevitably cause stress for many students and the best way to relieve stress is to party all weekend long. Partying can help students forget all their troubles. Come to think of it, partying can help students forget just about everything, including their names.

New students living on campus, particularly in the larger residence halls, will soon learn the downside of partying. Even if these students do not learn of the effects firsthand, the results of too much alcohol will present themselves in varying forms. Whether the results take the shape of a screaming riot running past the room door at three in the morning, or the ever-lovely walking into the bathroom to find somebody perched over the toilet playing “guess what I had for dinner,” drinking will make its presence known. These aspects are all a part of the college experience, the good and the bad.

Welcome to college and the somewhat real world.

Whether a person drinks is an individual choice no one else can make. Friends – or so-called friends – may try to exert some influence regarding these matters, but it is up to the individual to make the final decision.

Stories have circulated of people who have died from alcohol poisoning on college campuses around the country, most likely because they did not know their limits. Each time, the story says something to the effect that the individual was pressured into drinking and either the group the person was with, or fraternities, or campus policy are to blame.

These types of charges make little to no sense. If a person drinks to the point of death, he or she is either stupid or weak-willed. It is a tragedy to see anyone die, but the blame should lie solely on the individual. Society places the blame somewhere else all to often, and rarely do the people who drink take responsibility for their actions.

Many colleges and national Greek-letter organizations around the country have been taking action to prevent such unfortunate occurrences as death and injury due to drinking. It seems the only solution these associations have come up with is announcing that certain colleges will be “drying up” or banning alcohol on campus.

Unfortunately, the response most popular with the students is to keep getting drunk and causing problems on campus, which probably is not the best way to demonstrate students’ ability to drink responsibly. But it does demonstrate the difficulty in carrying out such a proposal.

Is it asking too much for each individual to drink responsibly, know his or her limits and act with a little maturity?

No one is obligated to drink to the point of blackout because other people may do the same.

No matter where the blame is placed for the problems with drinking on campus, it usually is not placed where it belongs – with the individuals.

-Staff editorial from the University of the Pacific’s The Pacifican.

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