It’s No Big Deal

If you have grown up through the Oceanside School District, you know the dangers and risks of under age drinking. They have been taught to you for many years. I am writing this simply to put everything in perspective, starting with the fact that I am merely a student. Although you may not care what I think or cannot stand to hear another person’s opinion on the matter, I’m not coming from where you have already heard. If you are a student, you have heard from health teachers, your parents, police officers, etc. But most likely you have not heard from one of your own kind. So I am asking you for a favor: you do not have to end up agreeing with me, but please be open to the way I see student drinking.

First let me ask you a question: how many high school students do you think have consumed alcohol? 10 percent? 20 percent? Well, “nearly three quarters of students (72%) have consumed alcohol by the end of high school, and more than a third (37%) have done so by eighth grade,” according to Students Against Destructive Decisions. To put that in perspective, that could mean out of about 425 incoming freshmen, more than 157 came into our high school having already drank alcohol, and by the time they graduate, that number will double.

Another question: do you know anyone under age who drinks and/or do you? Well, I used to think I didn’t. But then the summer after ninth grade rolled along. My friend and I were at the beach, and she said to me, “At night, boys from our grade drink beer here.” To say that I was shocked is an understatement. She then continued to name some of these people, and it was hard to believe that people I had gone to kindergarten with could do this. I proceeded to ask some other friends if this was true, and they had also confirmed it. I was astounded that people my age could one- do anything illegal, and two- do something that they had learned was wrong.

Then, as we got older, my friends started hanging out with people who drank regularly. I was again shocked. I immediately thought “they should not hang around these people.” I never said anything to my friends though, because I trusted them. I knew that they would never drink.

Well, I was wrong. I was not only surprised, I was upset. To tell you the truth, it had brought me to tears. It turns out I was living in a bubble. I never realized just who would do this. Then came the turning point: now, I started seeing Snapchats of my peers drinking. Seeing evidence right before my eyes was inconceivable. As difficult as it is for me to see who is drinking, the numbers frighten me more. According to Responsibility.org, in this past month, one of every three seniors has been drinking.

Later on, I told my parents that this issue has taken an emotional toll on me. They had said to me that I should not be this upset about it all – that I am making it a bigger deal than it is. But for me, it is a big deal. My reasons stem from before I was born. One day my grandparents were driving and were hit by a drunk driver. The accident was not fatal, which should be the silver lining and the way a nice story would end. Unfortunately, while they were waiting for a tow truck outside the car, both my grandparents were struck by another drunk driver. My grandfather was killed. My grandmother was hospitalized for months. My mother and aunt (at the time both teenagers) had lost their father, and I was never able to meet my grandfather.

And yes, I know that not everyone gets drunk, and not everyone drinks and drives. But why risk it? And besides these dangers, why risk developing illnesses later on in life, not getting into your dream college, hurting someone innocent, or any other consequence? This is why I get upset. I cannot stand back, watch and hear of anyone put themselves at risk for any potential consequence due to under age drinking. The response to all of this is likely “It’s no big deal,” however, the reason I am so against under age drinking is because there are too many consequences, which are instantaneous and permanent. People in this school district know better.

So if you are an under age drinker, or even if you are not but disagree with me, I hold no resentment towards you and do not mean to bombard you. But now, whoever may be reading this, you have a perspective from me, a student, and know where you stand in the statistics. All I have left is one more question that I pose to everyone (no matter your age or drinking status): is it worth it?