Posted by Zoe Silver
Skidmore is a tight-knit community, so when a new fad hits campus, it is quickly on everyone's radar. But did you ever consider those trends and "customs" that you knew existed when you first got to Skidmore? Where did they originate? The truth is, many of the sentences we tend to start with "everyone does it..." are simply false. I would like to examine some of these common misconceptions, particularly those related to alcohol and drugs, so you can understand that it is OK not to do something, and no, NOT everyone else does it!
Myth: Everyone binge drinks on Friday nights.
Reality: There is a large community of students on campus who don't drink at all, and for those who do drink, the amount greatly varies. It is certainly not true that everyone is blackout drunk on a Friday night, nor is it true that you have to follow this fictional custom to fit in.
Myth: It is easier to make new friends when you are drunk, and you have to drink in order to fit in.
Reality: The reverse is more valid, as friends made while drunk are sometimes forgotten by the next morning. The only truth to this myth is that people are less inhibited when they are drunk and therefore may be more likely to approach new people or come out of their shell. When it comes to making new friends or connections, however, the lasting ones are generally made sober. Furthermore, if you feel that your current friends will only accept you if you drink, then you can find better friends.
Myth: You can cure a hangover with coffee and Tylenol.
Reality: The only cure for a hangover is time. Unfortunately, you cannot sleep it off, nor is there a medicine that will do the trick, although hydrating your body with water is helpful nonetheless.
Myth: You have to start drinking at 10 a.m on Fun Day and keep going all day long.
Reality: A lot of people chose to remain sober on Fun Day, and still have tons of fun! This is a day of sun-basking, listening to music, hanging out with your friends, eating and relaxing, all of which you can do without alcohol in your system.
Myth: Because marijuana is not addictive, it is OK if I smoke it every day of the week.
Reality: It is true that marijuana is not addictive, but you are still in an altered state of mind when you use it, which inhibits productivity and functioning. It is not good for this to become your "norm," as it may affect your schoolwork, social life, etc. If you want to smoke, try limiting it to weekends or special occasions.
Myth: It is OK to drive high, just not drunk.
Reality: This is just as dangerous and illegal as driving with alcohol in your system. Even if you feel in control, the drug affects your reaction time and mental capacity, and you do not have the ability to drive safely without putting yourself and others at risk.
I encourage you all to challenge the assumptions that you have about life on campus, because it is precisely these assumptions that create the behaviors to begin with. If we all had a more realistic idea of the behavior of our peers, it is likely that we would feel less obliged to engage in activities in which we may not want to engage, but do because we believe they are the norm and that we must partake in order to be accepted in the community. Until next time, stay healthy, enjoy the warmer weather and check your facts!