Balancing alcohol with responsibility
As I look back at the local news headlines from a week ago, I can only stand and shake my head. There were over 40 University of Massachusetts area 911 calls in one weekend for alcohol related issues. Even for a campus that has a reputation such as ours for partying, that is a bit much.
That is not a statistic to be proud of for the University. On a small scale, it is not a good reflection as to where the priorities of the student body lie. We all know that most college students are responsible young adults. However, the college crowd often gets a bad name from the small fraction that think that its major is alcohol.
If you are of age, it is alright to have a few beers with your friends every once in awhile. However, this should not be the reason you are here at UMass.
When you are an incoming freshman into college, this can be a bad portrayal of college to see. College is about more than freedom and having a raucous time. It is about discovering who you are and why you are that person. You find direction in your life, and you find your true passions.
We must take into perspective that we, in this generation, have a unique opportunity. We have the chance to leave a mark on this world and change the course of history. In the end, we can leave this world a better place than when we were born into it.
Yes, this is the same opportunity that has been taken on by every generation before us. However each generation has had something that the previous hasn’t –technology. Seeing as we are the newest generation to come of age, we have the technology to change the world for the better than any generation before us.
However, we have to be willing to take the step forward and embrace our status in the world as the movers of time. We can’t sit down and allow ourselves to be taken hostage to the dogma of lethargy.
That is why this time in college, or your late teens to early 20s, is so critical. It is our coming of age. Yes, we are allowed to have a good time and a good time we should have. It’s called living a well-rounded life.
However, we cannot shun the responsibilities that are starting to come our way. We can no longer hide behind the innocence of youth. We can no longer delegate our responsibilities to adults because we are the adults now.
The responsibility of a generation is a hefty load, no doubt. That is why we are on the path to discover what are passions are. It is within those passions, from the office to the battlefields, that we will carve our niche in history and what the future holds for others.
In Native American music, the one consistent state of being is the drumbeat. The drumbeat is set up and timed to represent the beating of a heart. It goes along with the theme of one heartbeat, one focus.
In a sense, it is the same with the individual. We are all guided by the feelings of our hearts and the logic of our mind. We all have something that makes us tick – something that drives us on. The way that we discover what makes us tick is by following our own hearts.
This means not buckling to peer pressure. Being the social beings that we are, we like to please people. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing when it means that you get along with others. It’s a bad thing when you allow yourself to be manipulated and you lose the true sense of your own self.
This all leads back to this simple case of drinking woes presented earlier in this column. Remember that you are not alone. You are part of a team too. When you appear in that police blog or in the emergency room to have your stomach pumped, you not only make a fool of yourself but also where you come from. In this case, the University of Massachusetts.
If you do not want to drink, don’t drink. If you do, at least be responsible and legal. Think for yourself and be responsible. Those two skills can be applied in college and throughout your whole life.
What we must remember is that we must trust our own hearts and not be afraid to take a step forward because of what others may think. We must be willing to stand and deliver. We must be willing to stand our ground for what is right and be willing to take the hits from those that disagree.
There is a quote from the movie “Braveheart” that captures this point. “Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.” Yes, we can still have a good time. However, we must also embrace the responsibilities that are presented to us. The future depends on it.
Matt Kushi is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.