By Miles Gleeson
This is my first attempt at writing. An unnerving prospect, yet an exciting one. Expression through written form is not what I’m used to as a chemistry student. University students have become intertwined with a culture of binge drinking. We discuss more statistics and figures related to binge drinking rather than the impact it has on ourselves. As a person with a chequered past involving drink related activities I feel I am qualified to discuss this with a relative degree of experience.
Before starting University two years ago I came from a background with a big drinking culture so it would be safe to say I was accustom to a tipple or two. The idea was to go to University and have a more relaxed lifestyle. A naïve thought on my part. Thrust into fresher’s week, I was surrounded by countless advertisements all screaming about being the cheapest purveyor of liquid courage. So, like many others, I began my academic career in a haze of late nights and hangovers. And lo and behold the parties never ended, with the exception of exam time, unless you had no hope of passing, where the prospect of a party would then become a fitting panacea.
After 2 years of wild nights, drunken debacles, and experiencing the vices of life, my alcohol intake had undoubtedly increased exponentially. I became aware of the impact of this culture on myself, and others around me. I had an epiphany. Was this detrimental to my health, both mental and physical?
With this revelation, I took it upon myself to reign in my urges to go out and paint the town red. And I feel a lot better for it. My life is teetering towards mild living rather than wild living, yet I enjoy a more productive academic career, which is the reason I am here.
When does having a good time crossover into borderline alcoholism? Do we fully understand the risks we are taking? Is there too much emphasis on alcohol in the student environment from both advertisements and peers? I never envisioned myself taking this stance in relation to this subject, but when seeing students act in ways that would be unthinkable when sober becomes a regular occurrence, one does really have to question the student drinking culture.
We put our health at risk with the amount we consume; it would be safe to assume a number of students go over the recommended 21 units a week just in one evening. What’s more, by embarking on a night out, we instantly put ourselves in a position of vulnerability, lowering our inhibitions and potentially putting ourselves in harmful situations.
Rather than condemning alcohol, I am trying to encourage a little self-reflection on our drinking habits and the effects. Go out and have fun but think whether it was worth the risk when you’ve got a sore head the next day.
Miles is in his second year at Manchester Metropolitan University studying Chemistry.