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Editorial Board

Thinkin’ about your drinkin’?

Drinking. It’s a topic that often comes up in the lives of college students, albeit to varying degrees. For some people, drinking is something integral to their lifestyle — it is so ingrained into their activities they think about it along the lines of “peas and carrots” combinations. A party means kegs, a birthday means shots and chicken means beer. For other people, alcohol is something they use when they are nervous at parties and want to loosen up.

And, for some people, alcohol is a non-issue — at least as far as drinking it goes.

Often, those who decide to abstain from drinking are made to feel as though they are weird or freakish. This type of thinking goes along with the old sheep mentality that everyone knows: “Everyone is doing it, so it must be OK and normal.”

There are many flaws with this particular logic, the major one being that not everyone is drinking. The people one may surround themselves with may be all about sucking down unlimited amounts of Natural Light and cheap vodka, but just because a certain circle of friends drinks doesn’t mean everyone on campus does.

The idea that “everyone is drinking, so it’s normal” is an example of normative behavior. Normative behavior is a behavior that many people in a group may engage in, but isn’t necessarily “normal.” An example of this is collective negative female body image. Although most women feel badly about their appearance at some point in their lives, that just makes it common — not necessarily how things are supposed to be.

Another issue that frequently comes up, often right after the point that “not everyone drinks,” is that people should curtail their drinking or not drink at all. While it’s admirable to demonstrate self-control, it’s also unrealistic to expect most college students to forego drinking altogether.

Much like the mantra repeated by proponents of safer sex, “If you are mature enough to have sex, you are mature enough to talk about birth control and discuss consequences,” there is a similar line of thinking when it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages —“If you are mature enough to drink, you should be able to make sure your behavior doesn’t hurt yourself or others.”

That means figuring out who is going to be the designated driver for the evening — before you begin drinking. That also means the D.D. understands what the position means — no alcohol tonight, not even just one drink. Lastly, being mature about drinking means that one knows their limits and is respectful enough of others so as not to get out of control.

The week of May 4 is fast approaching, and most people know it’s one of the biggest party weekends at the university. The police are out in full force, and emotions are heightened beyond belief. In light of all this, people should use discretion in regards to the amounts they drink and what they do when they are under the influence of alcohol. Don’t give the police a reason to break out the riot gear.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater

editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.