We are about to end the spookiest time of year here at Shippensburg University. The PAGE Center hosted another successful production of “The Rocky Horror Show,” RHA had its first Haunted Henderson and I ate more pieces of candy than I care to admit.
But the scariest thing around here has nothing to do with Spooky Season. You guessed it: I am talking about alcohol abuse.
The most ignorant thing I have ever heard is any version of the sentiment, “It’s not alcoholism until you graduate.”
I know this is where I may lose many of my peers. This may be where you start to think I am a fun sponge who is going to rant about the evils of alcohol. I may be boring, but I am not irrational.
Halloween and homecoming are two of the biggest party weekends of the year, and this year, they are consecutive. This means for some of our SU friends, the partying may very well be a seven-day-straight affair. I am deeply concerned that at least one SU student will end up hospitalized before homecoming ends for alcohol poisoning or any other injury that may be caused by a surplus of stupidity.
This, of course, is not a problem unique to Shippensburg University. In the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 49.3% of college students reported having consumed alcohol within the past month. As I sit at the desk of my residence hall on the Friday of Halloweekend, I would be shocked if that number is not below the true percentage.
When it comes to binge drinking, which this survey defined as “five or more drinks on an occasion for men and four or more drinks on an occasion for women,” 27.4% of students met the characteristics for the same time frame. This statistic feels more accurate, but I suspect this, too, is lower than reality.
At its root, my biggest grievance is that it should not feel isolating to be an upperclassman who has not once touched alcohol or any drug in the five semesters I have been here. I fundamentally do not understand why so many of us are unable to go through college life without being aided by some combination of alcohol, marijuana and God knows what else.
I could not begin to count the number of times I have been told during my time as a resident assistant, “You should come to frat!” I usually roll my eyes, tell them to be safe and go back to my room.
I cannot say I have not considered it. There have been many days when I would love to be able to sweat out some energy and yell songs in a room full of other people, but I want a party-like environment without drugs, and that just does not happen.
I should make one thing clear — I absolutely love the life I have created for myself here at Ship. I rarely feel like I am missing out by not engaging in the frat elements of college, and my ego likes to rear its head now and then and make me feel superior about not drinking.
If any of my peers read this far, I am not asking you to stop drinking. This week, I used my role in The Slate to write a fully self-serving column and release some thoughts I have had for a while.
If you already engage in excessive or underage drinking, I know you are unlikely to stop, regardless of my deeply moving column in your university’s newspaper.