STUDENTS SOUND OFF ON DRINKING
Yesterday USA Today featured an article entitled “Students sound off on drinking,” where they reported on a roundtable discussion held at the University of Georgia at Athens. UGA President Michael Adams has recently gone public with his hopes of addressing the drinking problem at UGA. The roundtable was composed of six students and a reporter and readers were given some highlights of the conversation. The article is worth reading in its entirety and is not long, but here is one part of the conversation that might interest you (the “Q” is the reporter, the names are UGA students):
Q: Can parents do anything?
Harkavy: A lot of parents have no idea what the heck their kid does. A buddy of mine's mom did not think he drank until he was 21, and he got trashed so many times his freshman year. Some parents want to think their child is an angel. It's a matter of being involved and talking to your kid.
Brown: Once (students) are off to college, the decision has been made. It goes back to their relationship with their parents. Parents can have that conversation during senior year of high school, but the outcome has been determined by how they have been raised.
Fields: Most students, when they get to college, it's not their first experience with alcohol. Some start as early as 11 or 12.
Ward: A lot of the ones who didn't drink in high school are the ones to explode in the first month at college.
I was intrigued by one other comment in particular. The question was "why do students binge drink?" and here is one of the responses:
"Our culture promotes excessive drinking as normal, almost expected, when students arrive at school. Students may not even be battling external peer pressure but rather an ingrained social pressure from our society."
In the past year, I have had significant conversations with two students who told me about their "very rough" first semesters. Both of them were involved in the party scene, and really didn't want to be. Their reason for being involved: "We didn't know anyone who didn't drink." Both Christians, they were "shocked" to "discover" Christian community their second semester, freshmen year. The Christian community has given them a place where they "can be themselves" and not "feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing."
The article in USA Today combined with my recent conversations with students reminded me of the importance of finding a Christian community on campus during your first semester. It's crucial!