I turned 21 on Sunday.
Yes, it’s been a long time coming and with the one more year of life comes many new opportunities. As college students, however, we must not mess things up for ourselves with these newfound freedoms.
What do I mean by that? Though you’ve heard it maybe hundreds of times in commercials, I still want to remind you to drink responsibly. Your (real) ID allows you to buy a round for everyone, but it’s important to wake up the next morning and know where exactly you bought those drinks.
Supplying alcohol to minors is becoming a large problem on campus grounds. Marquette University is utilizing a new fining policy for underage alcohol consumption, and providing or selling alcohol to a person under 21 merits a $500 fine and university probation or suspension... on the first offense.
Is tossing a freshman a beer worth it when the cost is tainting your college record permanently? Is it worth the appearance in the police log the next day? I didn’t think so.
Another privilege with being 21 is the ability to enter the casino gaming floor (okay, it might be 18 in Rhode Island for the quasi-casinos, but let’s not nitpick this). There is a major casino located 1.4 miles from my apartment, so it will be a place I will stop into every once in a while to try my luck or to forget about school for a bit. It’s important, however, not to abuse this privilege and to remember your responsibilities back at school.
Finding yourself at the casino several times per week either means you really stay on top of your homework and have a lot of free time, or you’re never in class. Learn to prioritize your schoolwork, employment and time with friends instead of sneaking off to gamble. Although you could potentially net thousands, it’s not guaranteed. Besides, college students should know that every dollar is precious.
Turning 21 is not a sign to act reckless every day; it should be seen as another year of maturity and another year of personal growth. It does expand your entertainment options, that’s a given, but there are obviously more pressing matters at hand. I’m not trying to put a damper on your 21st birthday bash, but simply remember the fun and games can go on for so long before responsibilities catch up to you.
To reiterate, a fine balance is needed between work and play. Don’t plop your behind on the couch every Friday and Saturday (unless if that’s what you like to do), but don’t go missing from the apartment for days at a time taking advantage of the bar scene. You will find a satisfying medium and stick to it during the school year, but it will take some time.
I’ll say you’re lucky if you have your birthday in the summer time, though. You can get all your pent up 21st birthday energy out of your system before school kicks in. Then again, for some people, that energy never seems to run empty.
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