Alcohol plays large part in student life, participation

By: Kwynn Townsend Riley – Columnist

Alcohol use is a definite trait among students on this campus. After witnessing so many effects of this year’s Halloween weekend, alcohol is in the atmosphere. It seems like most people on this campus drink more beer than water.

Especially when I look in the first-year residential areas, and I see beer guts. Beer guts are neither sexy nor appealing in interviews.

I am pretty sure if the neighborhood recycled the amount of beer cans in one night of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, there would be more than enough to rebuild the chapel with just beer cans.

On this campus, alcoholism is celebrated. That is absurd. But, I wonder why students drink so much? Why do we eagerly seek reasons to celebrate? As my 21st birthday approaches, a lot of my friends are more excited than I am. To indulge, to binge, to forget for one night.

When I overhear students looking forward to drinking their weight in alcohol, or drinking to forget, it makes me think: What are we trying to forget? Maybe we are all just trying to act like the college students we see in films. College students who had nothing else to do but fall in love and party. The colleges that consist of perfection and desire, no scent of conflict in the air at all.

Perhaps, students drink to escape reality. Because at UD, our reality consists of class, extracurricular activities and life’s struggles.

Maybe because, for us, reality gets too real. College here can cause stress with outrageous rates in tuition, low scholarships, professors who don’t care, too many papers and tests, too much drama and too many issues.

Maybe we drink because of that.

The stress of managing it all. The stress of managing expectations from others. The stress of managing the expectations of ourselves. The stress of balancing class, band, Greek life, SGA and work. The stress of time management.

How can one person actually manage it all? We stay up to study, study to pass, pass to graduate and graduate to get a career. We graduate with hope that we did not spend four years of our prime on nothing but a piece of paper with our name on it.

Maybe we drink because we don’t want to worry about the future for a night. Just the present. Just that minute.

There is something in that liquid courage that most students can truly find what they were looking for all week: peace. I think that is why Friday nights on this campus are so anticipated. Because we all know by Sunday night, we go back to our stressful, too real reality. We all just want one night to forget.

If stress is the reason for the over accumulation of beer and bottles then this is a message to UD faculty: if professors honestly knew what we were going through, there would be less homework. If professors remembered that they were once students as well, we wouldn’t have seven page papers due the same day as tests.

Professors forget that we come into college as 18-year-old children. Children who are forced to think about what they want to do for the rest of their lives, when for four years we only had to think about what time our parents were going to pick us up.

I wish faculty would consider the students, consider our work loads, consider what we go through.

Maybe then, there will be fewer “riots.” Maybe then, there will be more attendance for nonalcoholic events at the University of Dayton.

Until that happens, cheers to the freakin’ weekend.

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