On the Culture of Drink
Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Boston College has a social culture that centers on the consumption of alcohol. It is not often that students do not pregame before a party or other event where they are not expected or required to be sober. Many students "go hard" Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, consuming large amounts of alcohol in a very short amount of time. The behavior is far from the request, "Please Drink Responsibly," found at the end of liquor advertisements.
Whether the above statements are true is irrelevant because this is the way drinking at BC is perceived. The perception of drinking on campus creates a Pygmalion effect. If we think this is the way we are supposed to drink or the way everyone else is drinking, then we drink in that manner so we can be full members of the community.
The drinking culture here is not safe, responsible, or mature. Weekend warriors are sent to the infirmary with alcohol poisoning. Others are ripping one too many shots and shot-gunning one too many beers. This usually results in our warrior, bent over a toilet or doing something he or she will regret. It is not often that mature adults partake in this sort of behavior. We are not adults yet, but college is our last chance to learn how to drink and party in a way that will not result in sickness or stupidity.
Why is the way that students at BC drink not safe, responsible, or mature? It is most likely due to alcohol's status as a banned substance for people under the age of 21. If drinking were not illegal or a violation of policy for those under 21, there would be less instances of students becoming sick and behaving irresponsibly while under the influence. If drinking were legal, we could teach people from a younger age how to drink in a manner that is safe and mature.
There are fewer juniors and seniors who are obligated to participate in programs like CHOICES because it is not "against the rules" for them to consume alcohol. They are able to drink responsibly because they do not have to sneak their drinks and consume large amounts in a short period of time so they are not "caught" violating policy.
There should not be such a stigma placed on such a beautiful thing. Having some drinks, when done responsibly, can be wonderful. It is a communal activity that brings people closer and can make them happy. There is not much in this world that is better or healthier (those who have two drinks a day live longer than those who abstain) than coming back to the room after a long, stressful day of working hard at scholarly and extracurricular activities and having a beer or cocktail with friends.
Getting slammed out of one's mind loses its appeal when it is not against policy to have a drink or two to end the day.
So, what is to be done? Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done in the way of policy. BC's hands are tied because the drinking age is 21. Students, on the other hand, can do something. They can begin to learn how to drink and appreciate the beauty of booze by behaving in a safe, responsible, and adult manner. Next time you have a drink, remember to not behave like a buffoon, respect booze and yourself, and when you raise your can, bottle, or glass, do not forget to toast, "For Boston."