Now that I have your attention, let's talk about sobriety (Image via Observer)
College x
Now that I have your attention, let's talk about sobriety (Image via Observer)

How taking a break from drinking for just a semester can help you serve the damage that alcohol can do.

When most young people think of college, the first thing that comes to the mind is the partying. The clubs go up on Tuesdays, college night pops on Thursdays and then everyone throws house parties on the weekends.

Basically, something is going down every day of the week, and you know apple juice isn’t the drink of choice at these parties. Ciroc Green Apple maybe, but not the sweet and innocent drink of your childhood, because you’re definitely not sweet and innocent anymore either.

The idea of taking a sober month, let alone a sober semester, seems horribly boring to most students. For some people, it’s quite frankly impossible. 

College drinking usually starts at the beginning of freshman year. Of course, most people only drink at the weekend house parties, where they can illegally consume alcohol in peace, but suddenly it’s a lot easier to do so. Without your parents watching your every move, it’s much easier to ignore the fact that you’re not 21 yet.

Then there’s a second wave of drinking in large quantities that hits around junior year; by this time, you and your friends have probably turned 21.

So naturally, you want to feel like independent, sophisticated grown-ups, hit up the bar or club and show the rest of society that you’re a legal adult now and they can’t tell you sh*t.

All perfectly understandable — but keeping up with all the college nights, Latin nights, hip-hop nights, half-price drink nights and every other kind of “night” which is just another excuse for drinking on a weekday can take a toll on not only your liver, but your grades, work, relationships and mental health as well. 

Don’t roll your eyes. Believe me, I’m not here to preach about how you must abstain from having any type of young and excusably reckless fun in college to become a future upstanding member of society. I have definitely had my share — along with a couple other people’s shares — of recklessness. I’m speaking from experience.

After bad things just started happening to me after every night of drinking, I decided to commit to staying sober for the last half of the semester.

With graduation fast approaching and impending deadlines on a number of papers ranging from 15 to 40 pages, I chose a sober semester as the first step of getting my sh*t together. Here are three reasons why you should too. 

1. The Real Reason for Even Going to College: GRADES

Okay, you probably didn’t come to college because you wanted to do homework for four more years. But you probably did come to earn a degree and you need decent grades to obtain that goal.

I know you were looking forward to the babes and the booze when you came to college, but face it: you’re not paying upwards of $4,000 a semester just to hook up and get drunk.

At least some part of you wants to have your name on that piece of paper stating that you gave up four years of your life to further your education so that you may land that dream job and make that even dreamier salary. 

Alcohol is not only a downer to your central nervous system, but to your GPA as well. Before you know it, you’re putting off the essay you were supposed to write to spend two hours getting ready for the club, drinking your weight in alcohol and then being too hungover to even write it the next day.

Take a sober semester. Your GPA will sober up right along with you. 

2. Going to Work Hungover Sucks

That’s if you even make it to work! I have witnessed (and possibly taken part in) many of those “I have food poisoning” phone calls to work. Who do you think you are fooling? Your manager knows that last night was $1.75 wells at the neighborhood watering hole and that the only kind of poisoning you have is alcohol. 

Not only are you spending your money on drinks, even if they are only $1.75, you’re either missing work or not performing to your highest potential. Even if you do show up, your hangover can hurt the cash flow.

When someone orders their steak medium-well and you serve it medium-rare because your head is clouded with the sins of last night, your tip will suffer.

Then, to get over the annoying day you just had, you go out with the coworkers for drinks and spend the little bit of money that you did make on more booze. It’s a vicious cycle. Quit drinking for a while and your wallet will thank you.

3. Save Your Relationships

Alcohol just opens the door to problems, especially when it comes to relationships. Sure, it can be fun to get drunk with your significant other when the intoxication is just setting in.

However, once the alcohol has fermented for a while, it’s all too easy to start yelling at him about how he ate the last fry and use that as an overarching metaphor for how he’s always acting inconsiderate and taking you for granted. True story. 

That being said, alcohol doesn’t just damage your relationships with others. I don’t just mean relationships with others, but with yourself as well.

A night of binge-drinking and questionable decisions tend to lead to a morning of ugly-crying and self-loathing. You’re not a bad person, alcohol can just make you do a couple — or a large stuffed-crust pizza box’s worth — of bad things.

Leave the alcohol alone and opt for a sober semester. Both your sanity and your bae’s will be saved. 

Drinking is a huge part of the college experience, and in no way am I telling you that it shouldn’t be. Still, if you notice that parts of your life are slipping due to alcohol, maybe you should consider taking a sober semester. 

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Sarah Marchan

University of Texas at San Antonio

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