Not all fun and drinking games

Sonoma State is a great school. The natural splendor of a beautiful campus combined with friendly faces and a clear passion for knowledge makes our little university thrum with excitement and promise. 

However, Sonoma State is still a college – and I think we all know the underlying meaning of ‘college life’ for students, particularly freshmen.

If not, let me give you a refresher. It’s all about drinking. Drinking, partying, hooking up, and exploiting one’s newfound freedom away from the clutches of parental control are all important components of a freshman’s introduction to college. Or at least that’s what we’re told. 

But is it actually true that an overwhelming majority of Freshman drink and party their first year away? More importantly, is such behavior truly necessary to a well-rounded college experience?

According to the mandatory online alcohol survey all incoming freshmen take before classes begin, only 48 percent of SSU students binge drink in a typical week period and only 31 percent smoke marijuana at least once a month. 

Seeing as this data has been garnered based upon previous responses to this survey, I would assume most of the responses making up these percentages came from freshmen. So if these statistics are to be taken seriously, the notion that an overwhelming majority of Sonoma State freshmen drink and party their first year away is suspect to inaccuracy.

Still there can be no ignoring the fact that a clear selection of young students do indulge in drinking on a semi-regular basis. For most teenagers, drinking, partying and engaging in various sexual escapades are all activities which are synonymous with the phrase, ‘college life’. For some, drinking is a necessary component of college socialization. 

For others, it is a way to distract a troubled mind. Primarily, drinking is simply ‘fun’, and there’s nothing young people strive for more than an opportunity to have fun. But surely, there are healthier and more fulfilling activities a freshman could participate in, which garner just as much fun, if not more, than drinking. 

As a freshman who doesn’t drink, smoke, or particularly party in any way, I bring to this issue a perspective which is obviously different from the stereotypical college student. I simply don’t see the necessity of excessive drinking and partying. Having witnessed a significant slew of friends dealing with the less than pleasant effects of said activities has not enticed me in the slightest to ever join in. 

From playing a sport and being physically active, to being creative and engaging your mind, there is no shortage of fun to be had doing sober activities. No matter how many times your peers may tell you otherwise, drinking is not at all crucial to a well-rounded college experience. 

Even simple things like eating, watching TV and movies, laughing with friends or family, and spending time with animals fill up your tank with energy far more than several shots and a night spent sick could – at least in my opinion. 

Certainly, living amongst a bevy of festivity-inclined peers does little to refute the notion that most freshmen drink. But based on both the statistics and common sense, perhaps the drunken population of SSU freshmen is smaller than one might think.  

For those of you, who like me, are disheartened by what you believe to be a dominant drinking culture, take heart. A population’s loudest members are bound to receive the most attention, regardless of actual size. And to those of you who view drinking as a required “right of passage” into true college life; get that idea out of your head and stop hanging around with jerks! 

Also, just to remind everyone, drinking is illegal for all people under the age of 21 in California. Unfortunately, I fear that fact does little to deter the adolescent appetite for rebellion.