College itself is a freeing experience, especially for those living either in the dorms, in a house or apartment with friends or at a fraternity or sorority house. After 18 years of living under the same roof with mom and dad, you can finally do what you want: stay up late, stay out until whenever and drink without having to worry about your parents smelling the drinks on your breath.
Many consider drinking in college to be expected, almost a rite of passage for many. But is everyone really drinking? And just how much is normal to drink? Is it two drinks? Or is everyone else having six, seven, eight – or even more?
Survey: Many drink and many drink a lot
If it feels like most people you know are drinking, it’s probably true. Maybe they aren’t drinking every week, but a national survey did find that close to 60 percent of students asked said they drank alcohol in the past month. The majority of these students – ages 18 to 22 – also reported binge drinking during this time.
If you are finding yourself wondering what the difference is between drinking and binge drinking, it all comes down to the number of drinks you have and in what time frame.
For example, two 12-ounce beers in two hours is drinking. But having 4 or 5 beers in two hours is binge drinking. With binge drinking, the goal is normally to get drunk, very quickly.
What happens when drinking gets out of hand?
With drinking, binge or otherwise, things can get out of hand. You could be at a house party and suddenly a fight breaks out. Or, you could think you are OK to drive home, but end up pulled over and arrested. In other cases, the police could bust the party you are at – giving everyone minor consumption tickets, but coming down a lot harder on the party throwers for supplying alcohol to minors.
In all these scenarios, not only are you facing potential academic consequences, but criminal ones as well. If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to keep in mind is that you are certainly not the first college student – nor will you be the last – to get in trouble for drinking in college. However, you do want to make sure that you don’t make any rash decisions or agree to any charges without first understanding the full implication of what would happen next.