It’s a classic American media trope that a small-town kid who departs for a large college town will inevitably get involved in the nefarious side of independent living. Rebelling against their once-sheltered existences invariably lands them in a new world of debauchery and academic malfeasance. While this is an exaggeration, it remains a notable fear amongst small-town parents preparing to send their children off to university. These concerns are not misplaced, but a young adult delving into the college experience in moderation is hardly a big deal.
I remember the first time I was told by an adult that I could attend college parties and not drink. It was ground-shaking. Growing up in an alcohol-free house, I never had the desire to drink, but I did want to experience college parties. However, how was I to facilitate both pursuits simultaneously? Some generous advice from a Godly woman helped me towards an answer:
“Drive yourself, so you won’t be dependent on someone who is drinking. This makes it safer for you, plus you can leave whenever you want. I also learned that If I merely held a beer at the party people would leave me alone. It’s okay to not drink.”
Taking this advice was extremely freeing. It allowed me to go to parties, bars, and clubs without the pressure of having to drink. When I was first invited out to a bar to play pool, I was worried about telling the group that I didn’t drink. They seemed cool, and I didn’t want to ruin a friendship before it even started. But I wanted to be honest about my convictions. Was I worried about never getting invited out with them again? Absolutely, but friends that make you compromise your values are not friends you want to have.
People come and go in your life and at the end of the day you’re only left with yourself. Would you be able to look at yourself in the mirror knowing you compromised your values for someone else? Thankfully, the group understood and we all had a good time. A conversation was held about why I don’t drink, but that was innocent enough. Years of addiction run through my family and drinking is not something I’m willing to test. They understood, and they respected my boundaries. Of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t harmlessly tease me for not drinking, but I now know they would never pressure me into it.
As a Christian kid going off to college, the fear and shame associated with partying is real. But that can be greatly misguided and often overblown. You can enjoy the parties and clubs without compromising your character. It really depends on your intent before you go away. Are you looking for trouble? Are you looking to flip the bird to your parents and the way you were raised? If so, college is not to blame for that. Kids can go off the deep end at a Christian school just as easily as they could at a state school. The way a person performs at college is set long before they step foot on any campus.
If you want to enjoy an occasional house party and club, then have a game plan before. Who is going to be there? Who is driving? Do you have someone with your location at all times? Are the people there going to respect your boundaries? Am I going to have fun?
College is filled with classes and tests, but the full experience is so much more than that. It’s about networking, growing as a person, learning hard lessons, and developing into an adult. Don’t let the fear of societal shame rob you of valuable experiences that you might never get again. Be smart and have fun.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.