To Drink or Not to Drink

As long as there is alcohol and an age limit, there will be underage drinking. Living in a spectrum between absolute boredom and unbearable stress, teens and young adults naturally gravitate towards a way to cope with the weight of the world. Alcohol opens up a world to teens that presents a seemingly easier way to pass time.

Studies over the past several years have shown that underage drinking has actually slightly dropped over the last decade. So, why is America seeing this trend? To answer this, it is important to investigate what makes some teens and young adults drink and others not.

Arguably the time in which most young adults decide to drink before they are 21 is in the years after high school. So, a college campus is a good spot to start to discover why people decide to drink alcohol before the age limit.

One college student explains that drinking was a way to take fear away from social interactions. The student says, “I get a lot of anxiety in social situations and [alcohol] helped me feel like I fit in. It took a lot of stress off of me and I was glad I had done it. Nobody pressured me into doing it but the option was always there.”

Curiosity was the reason for another college student. The student states, “I started doing it just to have fun and to make friends. I ended up liking the taste of beer and wanted to keep trying it to see what else I liked.”

For yet another student in college, underage drinking is all to do with the entertainment that comes with it and being able to be a part of that fun: “I always have fun when I drink because it makes everyone seem funnier. It helps you feel more relaxed and as though you are on the same page as everyone else.”

Next, it was time to indulge in the life of non-indulgence. Why are teens and young adults deciding to say, “No thanks?”

One college student’s reason for not drinking has to do with the health benefits of not partaking. The student says, “One is not fully aware or in control when drinking alcohol and it does not contribute to my goal of being healthy and fit.”

A high school student shares, “I feel like I have so much fun without alcohol, it would be a waste to ruin it with alcohol. I want to be able to remember the fun the next day.”

Another high school student reasons the choice of not drinking by saying, “I enjoy hanging out with people without alcohol, therefore, I do not need alcohol to dumb myself down and enjoy things more.”

Some tribute the small decline in underage drinking to an increase in education on the subject. Others argue that students are just realizing that there are still ways to have fun without the use of alcohol.

No matter what, it is important to know that there are reasons that teens turn to alcohol and that those reasons may be more important to focus on than the problem of underage drinking itself.