For many students, varsity is their first exposure to an environment in which people drink alcohol. It’s served at various student functions and events, and is a regular feature at house parties.
A lot of South Africans drink beer while watching sport, too, and enjoy cocktails or a glass of wine at clubs and restaurants. It may sometimes seem like alcohol is everywhere, and you may feel pressured to drink if you want to fit in with your new environment. While it is seen as a normal pastime, however, drinking alcohol can have negative effects.
This post outlines the most important facts about alcohol, so that you can make educated choices and minimise potential harm to yourself and others.
- Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which is why you may feel more relaxed when you drink it. But if you drink too much, you could suffer a depressed mood the next, apart from the obvious hangover.
- It slows down your reaction time, so if you drive, you’re more likely to have a car accident, and possibly injure or kill yourself and others on the road. It should go without saying that you should never drink and drive
- It lowers your inhibitions, and this can cause you to behave in out of character ways and exercise poor judgment, which you may regret the next day.
- It puts your liver through a fair amount of stress, even if you only have two or three drinks. Bingeing on alcohol too often can also lead to high blood pressure and cancer.
- It can be dependence-forming. If you find you start needing a drink to function at social events or to help you face life, ask for help before it becomes a bigger problem.
If you don’t like the effects alcohol has on you, don’t feel pressured to drink it. Your varsity years are for finding your passions in life, learning and forming lasting relationships. There are many students who don’t drink to excess, or at all, and many hobbies, clubs and societies where drinking isn’t involved. When it comes to your social life on campus, make wise choices, be true to yourself, and stick with the winners.
Photo credit: leighadactyl