Classes or parties? Remember to remember what’s important

Sara Petersen

August is finally here, and I’m back at Kent State. I was so excited to come back; being away from home is an ultimate bonus when at college. I know many new students are going to take full advantage of being away from their parents, but the newfound freedom needs to be censored a little.

Students in college party. There’s no denying that, but when it comes to consuming alcohol and going out on Thursday and Saturday nights, there are some things freshmen and even some upperclassmen need to know.

Personally, I find getting drunk – just to get drunk – absolutely ridiculous and a complete waste of time and money. Many other people have reasons as to why underage students shouldn’t drink: Morals, ethics and religion get involved in these reasons, but what people tend to forget is that underage drinking is illegal.

If underage students are caught drinking in the residence halls, they get documented. This also happens to students who are of age but are drinking in dry halls. A few days after the students get caught drinking, they must then meet with the residence hall director. Written warnings, having to attend an alcohol education program or even a referral to the Office of Judicial Affairs are the consequences. I know I don’t have the time to waste with an RHD, promising I won’t be drinking in the dorms again.

Most drinking usually doesn’t happen in the dorms; the real parties are in the houses off campus. When underage students are caught drinking, they get a citation and then have to appear in court. The total after-court costs and fines is about $250. Plus, students must attend an alcohol education program, which they must also pay for. College students are poor, and they don’t have $250 just laying around to spend on fines and court costs, all for a “good time.”

If a party gets busted, the people older than 21 will also get cited. I’m pretty sure that a “furnishing alcohol to minors” violation would look absolutely fabulous on a resume or job application.

Besides the illegal aspect of drinking, the FBI’s statistics show most sexual assaults in college cities happen within the first three weeks of the academic year. Ladies, drinking impairs your ability to think clearly, and you might end up doing something you don’t want to do. You also are not fully able to defend yourself.

Freshmen, being away from home is amazing, and the fact that you don’t have to come home to your parents is even better. But beware of how much you drink. Not having any control over how much you drink could easily give you alcohol poisoning, and people have died from that.

Remember your priorities. Either you or your parents are not paying a large amount of money for you to party. Classes need to come first, and excessively going out easily causes the GPA to fall.

If none of the other reasons I have listed in this column have encouraged you to not drink, then maybe this one will. Beer makes you fat. I never gained the dreaded “freshman 15” because I never drank. My brother was always very scrawny, and he tried all throughout high school to gain weight, and no matter what he did, he stayed skinny. Once he graduated from high school, he became a big fan of beer. Five years later, he is now 50 pounds heavier.

Drinking and partying may be fun and relaxing, but Kent Interhall Council and Recreational Services work hard to have programs and events that are on campus and free. They last all night, and they’re fun to go to. There is also always free food, a bonus for starving college students.

Lets face it – drinking is an expensive, risky, fattening and illegal habit. I suggest that you try to avoid participating in it while in school.

Sara Petersen is a junior public relations major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].