By Aisling Moloney
I never thought I would wake up after a night out with little to no recollection of what happened. After one particularly drunken Tuesday night, when the smoking area of Angel Lane was open, I woke up thinking I had full knowledge of my actions from the night before, until my housemates assured me that I did not.
Alcohol does strange things to people’s brains. For me, unlike others, alcohol had never before caused memory loss, however I made the fatal error that Tuesday night. The night all of our mammies warned us about. Going out and having a few drinks on an empty stomach. Oh, she would be tutting now. Drinking on that empty stomach resulted in a trip to the Regional two weeks later. So, I am the horror story. However I live to tell the tale and frankly, laugh about it.
I am neither completely for nor completely against alcohol. I am just like the majority of freshers, drunk on the power of independence. By this stage we all know alcohol’s effects. We have either experienced them ourselves, heard about them or witnessed our friends experience them.
Even though I ended up visiting A&E technically because of alcohol, I would still blame my sober brain first, for making the decision to only eat two bites of my dinner before getting carried away with my fake tan. It was a mistake, we all make them, and instead of getting upset over its occurrence, why not just have a full dinner before the next night out?
The consequences of alcohol abuse or abstention are wildly varied. When having “a few pints with the lads” results in you missing an assessment in the morning, then maybe you should sort out your priorities. When staying in on a Thursday night and swearing yourself off alcohol makes you unhappy and lonely then you also need to sort out your priorities. The extremes of any situation are cautionary. You shouldn’t deprive yourself in fear, or challenge yourself without fear.
Remember we are not here to drink only, or to study only. We are here to live the college student life, which incorporates equal parts fun (while drinking or not), equal parts education and equal parts independence. In the end, we are most definitely all here to graduate so if getting drunk too many nights a week is proving to stop you achieving that, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your purpose in college.
Irish people, we have a strange relationship with alcohol. It is quite deeply rooted in our culture and has evolved to be quite a topical issue in our society. When I went to France this summer and they offered me wine with my dinner, I politely refused. When I told them I don’t actually like the taste of alcohol, they were surprised, but then when I told them I only drink with the intent of getting somewhat tipsy, almost drunk, they were horrified. Is my attitude similar to the majority of our generation
Your relationship with drink is your own business, not your housemate telling you to down the ‘King’s Cup’, not your parents who tell you to study all the live long day, most definitely not the person giving you daggers for enjoying yourself on the dance floor and, please, not the guy or girl you fancy. Getting drunk is not a way to become more confident, an excuse for inexcusable actions and is not going to help you in the pursuit of happiness.
What will help you is supportive friends who think you’re great with and without alcohol, a healthy study ethic and some drive to get through exams. I write this as someone who can learn from the shameful head hanging after an eventful night out but who can also drink in moderation and benefit from the entire college experience.
*The content in relation to alcohol use in this article relates to UL’s Alcohol and Drugs Awareness Week and involves the opinion of a UL student which is solely intended to illustrate an opinion and promote discussion. Nothing in this article should in any form be taken as an endorsement of any illegal or unhealthy activity involving alcohol.