By Nate West
I’m a St. Bonaventure senior, making it safe to assume I’ve had a drink or two before and will have a few more in the future.
It’s no secret drinking is a popular way to spend the weekend here. If you’ve been in Allegany on a Friday or Saturday night during the academic year then you’ve seen the crowds outside. They’re borderline impossible to miss. But, as a senior preparing to graduate, I’m getting sentimental about being in the Burton or O.P. I’ll miss it, but it’s a necessary step in growing up.
After college, there are a few paths graduates can take. They can give up drinking entirely, find a safe middle ground or become an alcoholic. All three are realistic possibilities for young adults.
Harvard University researchers define binge drinking as, “consuming five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in a single sitting.” According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), teens who began drinking before the age of 15 are 40 percent more likely to become an alcoholic.
That sounds young, but a 2010 study done by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health found 16 years old to be the average age kids between 12 and 20 started drinking.
Alcoholism is a serious issue facing young adults looking to enter the professional world. Many young people use alcohol to celebrate an achievement or accomplishment, like getting a job or completing capstone. I know I do, but in moderation.
Excessive drinking can be more than potentially embarrassing, it can be a career killer.
No one wants to end up like the Oklahoma woman hired to be a teacher, who got fired after school officials found her in a classroom drunk and without pants.
It’s also hazardous to your health. Binge drinking is associated with a plethora of health issues including alcohol poisoning (obviously), high blood pressure, neurological damage, liver disease, sexual dysfunction and unintentional injuries (falls, burns, lacerations, etc.)
I’m not standing on a soapbox. I don’t know anyone who is at risk of becoming an alcoholic or has any type of alcohol dependency.
It’s an issue that strikes close to home for me and one that students at a school where drinking is commonplace (like Bona’s) should be aware of.
Nate West is the Editor-in-Chief of The Bona Venture. His email is email@example.com