Anyone who has ever seen a movie or television show portraying college students has probably taken away one stereotype: binge drinking.
While the stereotype does portray some of the college environment, the implication that binge drinking is cool puts some students in particularly unsafe situations, especially if they are in an unknown environment, with people they have only known for a couple of weeks.
“The most important and most helpful thing is simply for parents to sit down and have a conversation with their child about drinking and partying before they go off to college,” said ETSU Counselor Mina McVeigh. “That’s not telling them that they shouldn’ t drink — it’s simply having that honest conversation about the values of the family, expectations and also alcohol safety.”
McVeigh said it’s important to talk to students like they are adults rather than avoiding the conversation completely.
“The likelihood that they will be exposed is very high, so it’s most likely your student is going to try,” McVeigh said. “But they need to know that red cups are not good — which aren’ t necessarily just from strangers since close friends can still roofie someone — intoxicated sex is sexual assault and basic safety precautions.”
McVeigh encourages students and others to consider three things when consuming alcohol: larger and smaller people cannot drink the same, females and males cannot drink the same and more alcohol is not better.
All of legal age who are looking to drink are recommended to achieve a “healthy buzz” rather than consuming alcohol to the point of endangering their health and ability to make coherent decisions.
The perfect, healthy buzz for most people in general, McVeigh said, is at one drink per one hour.
“Not all alcohol is the same,” McVeigh said. “Twelve ounces of beer is equal to four to five ounces of wine, which is equal to 1.5 ounces of vodka. If they’re thinking that they’re just throwing back a shot, that’s a whole beer they are drinking.”
In regards to male versus female, McVeigh explained despite gender expression or identity, the biology of the female body does not have the same enzyme breakdown process as the male counterpart.
“Besides the moral and health consequences of drinking, especially over drinking, there are legal consequences to drinking underage, drinking and driving and public intoxication,” McVeigh said. “Police on campus can give you a regular DUI that you would receive off campus; it’s not some special watered-down version of a DUI.”
McVeigh encourages new students and family members to visit the ETSU Counseling Center website and review the “Alcohol 101” information, which is designed to bring about the necessary conversations between students and their parents.
“You’re leaving everything you know, everything is new and you’re going to feel anxious about being in a completely new environment, where you want to make the most of things and have friends,” McVeigh said. “Rather than alcohol, join an organization, eat, sleep, exercise and be a normal human. If you’re struggling, come to the counseling center and get the help you need.”