Abstaining: A university counter culture
A study done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2015 found that approximately 62.4 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 25 in Delaware drank alcohol within a month — above the national average of 56 percent.
The statistic correlates with the fact that the university was recently named the No. 1 party school in the country by The Princeton Review. Drinking at the university is so prevalent that it might even be the norm, but for some students, the risks outweigh the benefit.
The mindset of non-drinkers across campus is consistent — the decision not to drink was a logical choice.
Senior Noor Jamal chooses not to drink for a variety of reasons, including her religion and personal disinterest.
“I’ve never seen anything beneficial from it,” she said. “It’s prohibited in my religion, but just because it is or isn’t allowed doesn’t mean that everyone will follow the rules.”
But, her reasoning isn’t solely for religious purposes, as she stated that she has never been tempted, but more uncomfortable, by the presence of alcohol.
But culture and religion aren’t the only reasons that people choose not to drink. Drinking affects productivity.
“I associate drinking with a party lifestyle I haven’t the need nor time for,” senior Michael Gardner said in explaining his decision to not drink.
Noor added to this thread by citing the benefit of “being able to be in full control of yourself.”
A study done by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that “alcohol consumption showed negative associations with motivation for and subjectively achieved academic performance. University alcohol prevention activities might have positive impact on students’ academic success.”
There are dozens of events around campus that don’t involve alcohol, whether organized by the university faculty or RSOs that easily keep abstainers busy, such as Perkins Live and Trabant Now. With Halloween around the corner, many drinkers may choose to attend parties off campus, but the university provides alternative events for those trying to avoid alcohol such as the Halloween Spooktacular hosted by Student Wellness and Health Promotion on Oct. 27.
“I think I generally accommodate myself in that regard, but hell yeah, for sure, there’s plenty of events around campus if you’re angling to avoid the alcohol scene,” Gardner said.
The abstainer group on campus not only consists of those who have never drank before, but also those who have made the decision to become sober after engaging in drinking culture.
Master’s student Makenzie Schulz explained her reasoning to quit drinking and become sober after graduating with her undergraduate degree, and stated that her drinking resulted in “a lot of missed opportunity, a lot of missed potential.”
She went on to say that undergrads here at the university may drink so much because “as an undergraduate, you have the stress of new responsibilities,” which is the exact reason behind why she decided to quit. Schulz is plenty busy as a student and a mom, but really enjoys the accommodations that the university has provided her in her recovery journey.
The Collegiate Recovery Community is a group run by Student Wellness that assists students in maintaining a sustainable recovery.
Schulz advised that if you have a “running internal dialogue about your relationship with drinking” or “question if you drink too much,” chances are that “your relationship with alcohol is unhealthy.”
Despite the fact that many abstainers choose to not drink for a variety of reasons, they seemed to come to a consensus that drinking, much like what Jamal stated, “is an absolute personal choice of yours.”