A little over two months ago, an Iowa State student was found dead in her sorority parking lot. She was only 21 years old, the same age as many reading this article now.
Her cause of death? Acute alcohol intoxication and hypothermia.
According to the National Institution for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, It is estimated that about 1,519 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.
As unfortunate as it is, this statistic is not incredibly surprising.
For the vast majority of young men and women, college is the first time young people have to experience life without a parent or guardian’s supervision. We don’t have to worry about mom or dad being there to lecture us for coming home after curfew, not doing our chores, or not following the rules; obviously, these factors give many college students newfound independence that they didn’t have before.
In an environment where young adults have (what seems like) limitless freedom with little disciplinary supervision, rules tend to be broken.
This newfound freedom is where things can start to get out of control.
I have personally witnessed dangerous events unfold when alcohol is involved, as I’m sure many of those reading this article have as well.
Now, I’m not shaming anyone for drinking and enjoying alcohol, even if they do so regularly. That is not the point of this editorial. I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t do.
Almost everyone, especially in college, drinks. It’s a norm in our society. But that’s what makes this issue so tricky —what happened to the Iowa State student can happen to anyone.
Again, drinking alcohol is fine, so long as it is in moderation. Many things considered “bad” for you or your body don’t have to be bad; people just do not know their limit.
It is vital that individuals who choose to drink alcohol know their limits. Yeah, you might get shit from your friends about being a “lightweight” but acknowledging your tolerance for alcohol could save your life one day.
Being a “lightweight” means you save more money, so it is not a bad thing, I promise.
It’s also imperative that you follow basic safety measures while doing so if you do choose to drink. These may seem obvious, but again, it could save your life one day.
If you’re drinking, make sure you are surrounded by people you trust. Stay with someone you know and trust at all times, and never put yourself in a situation where you’d be left alone. Don’t leave your drink out unattended. Don’t drink and drive or get into a car with a driver who has been drinking. But most importantly:
Know your limit.