Stine Bauer Dahlberg: Hope for the power-hour generation

College students today are lazy, unmannered, hedonistic and, above all, they drink too much. Indeed, this is the same complaint voiced by every older generation since the invention of alcohol. Yet members of our generation are not just heavy drinkers, we are binge drinkers.

We have reached an unexplored low by taking drinking to a whole new level. We have invented advanced games like “power hour,” which includes songs, stop watches and shots of beer every minute. We drink only to get drunk. We have missed class because of it. We have engaged in unplanned sexual activity because of it. We are the worst generation ever to populate this country’s fine college campuses. Or at least so say many observers of our drinking culture today.

But wasn’t the same said about our parents’ generation of pot smokers and LSD droppers? Or their parents’ generation of twist dancers and Elvis-listeners? Sure, I often drink more than four drinks in a row, which is regarded as the binge-drinking limit for girls. I do believe, however, that my generation and I have our drinking under control. My fellow 20-somethings and I are sensible enough to know when to stop drinking (when we enter the real world). Yet it is up to you and me to prove it.

The students of GW are outgoing, literally. We populate Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan on most Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Most of us drink what is considered far above the recommended limit, be it sake, Corona, tequila, merlot, dirty martins or sambuca. We lose our ability to walk in a straight line, or judge who is attractive or not, but the majority of us don’t destroy property, fall over and knock out our teeth or beat someone else up. The majority of us are fall in the group “binge drinker light.”

We drink as much as a binge drinker but we somehow manage not to pass the fine line into destructive behavior. We still get grouped with the small minority who ended up being taken to the hospital by the University Police Department, but most of us manage to maybe just lose our wallet rather than our ability to talk.

The risks of binge drinking should not be played down. We should work even harder to prevent sexual assault on intoxicated girls, and we are all responsible for telling that stupid friend who starts ripping up plants from Dupont Circle that he/she has crossed the line, but I don’t think we need to stop drinking as we do.

Those who are horrified of the implications of our youth’s drinking should look at our fine power-hour generation of GW students. The vast majority of us manage to go to school, pass our classes, learn and have the best four years of our lives. Many that I know even manage to go out three nights a week to drink themselves stupid, get all “A’s” and excel at internships with very well respected institutions.

Our college time is the when we get to run around and get all that energy and curiosity out. We test boundaries, but better to do that now than when we run a hedge fund in New York or work for the United Nations. Or even worse, we could suppress it until we are 40 and have kids, when drinking develops into a full blown mid-life crisis.

The fact that we still manage to have some sort of intelligence left shows that when we enter the real world after college we are not going to show up to a job interview hung over, because most likely we really want to get the job. And we are not going to get so drunk we puke in front of our boss at the office party because, again, we probably want to keep our job.

Just because we show up to class hung over or puke in front of our housemate doesn’t mean we are bringing this behavior with us into the future. So leave the binge drinker lights alone – there is still hope for us.

-The writer, a junior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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