When Fear Of Alcoholism Ruins The Party
College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

When Fear Of Alcoholism Ruins The Party

Recognizing you have a problem ... before there's a problem.

My mom has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. Currently, she's sixty years old, and I'm twenty-one. Now is the most socially acceptable time for me to drink, and I'm already realizing that I have a problem.

Moderation doesn't always come easily to me. One drink turns into two, which snowballs into six. I'm a pleasant drunk, so my friends have no reason to call me out. I haven't royally fucked up by getting a DUI or anything like that, but my inability to pace myself has recently become a red flag. It's possible that alcohol and I are a bad mix.

Heavy drinking is sort of like smoking cigarettes. It looks cool when you're young and attractive, but as you age, the negative effects on your health can sully any inkling of glamour. When it comes to alcohol addiction, we often don't recognize the problem until it's too late. I don't want to wait until I destroy my liver before realizing there's a problem. Despite what movies, TV, ads, music, and college culture itself have said about people my age, I am not invincible. So what is a college student with a love of partying and a family history of alcoholism to do?


Source: CollegeMagazine

Get over the fear of socializing while sober. When you're sober and you walk into a room full of drunk people, you may feel obligated to start chugging drinks. I've convinced myself that I can't function in these settings without a few drinks, but that's just not true. If you allow those first few minutes of awkwardness to pass, letting your sober self get settled in, you may actually enjoy yourself more than if you were drunk. I've tried this out a couple times and found that sober me is just as fun as drunk me. Not to talk down alcohol, but you don't need it to have a good time around drunk people. In fact, sober you is more perceptive of your friends' debauchery, so be sure to take plenty of pics!

College life and heavy drinking seem to go hand-in-hand. But when an individual with a family history of alcoholism lives in a culture that over-normalizes drinking, there may be a problem. Just because something works for other people your age, doesn't mean it's right for you. Time will tell how I'll manage my problems with alcohol. I'm seeking counseling to get advice on how to deal with this, and I would encourage any one else in my situation to do so as well. If I learn to pace myself, that's great, but I think it's best for me to stop drinking altogether.

When it comes to any lifestyle choice, do what's right for you. Understand your risk factors before they become a problem. Have as much fun as you can while also taking care of yourself.

<div class="apester-media" data-media-id="5978f688ab8ce93f38ccaff4" height="350"></div><script async src="https://static.apester.com/js/sdk/v2.0/apester-javascript-sdk.min.js"></script>

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: marcobertoliphotography

My Fake ID Adventures: Part One

Teen drinking is very bad... Yo I got a fake ID though.

Being the baby of my class was never easy. I was the last one to get a license, to get a tattoo, and to turn 21. But, ID God had my back with the "pretending to be 21" part, and I have had nothing but success since they've helped me.

Here are some very important thing to know though, for when you're the only one "from" Florida and everyone else has their Cali IDs.

1. Know everything on your fake like you know it on your real one.
Birthday? Address? City? Zip code?

2. Know random things from when you would be alive.
What year are you in school? How old were you when major events (like 9/11) happened?

3. If your birthday is different than your real one, know your sign.
If your ID says you are a March baby, you're no longer a Sagittarius.

4. Know things about your fake hometown.
I had a server ask what county I was from in Florida. I had no idea. So I said Crestview, which is the name of the city that I was "from" because some counties in California include cities that are named the same thing. Turns out I was wrong. But he didn't catch it, instead he said "Oh yeah I'm from blah blah blah."

I had zero problem getting into every other bar we went to that night, which was great and definitely boosted my confidence. Prior to that evening I had only ever bought alcohol from grocery stores (your safest bet if you are sketched out about using it). Just make sure you don't walk up to the person that's wearing the name tag that says STORE MANAGER when you go to show him or her your ID. Go for a young person, they'll likely roll with it if they figure it out.

6. Make sure to hide your real ID some place discreet in your wallet where it is not easily seen.
Trust me, shit gets weird when you have to explain why you have your "roommate's" ID in your wallet as well as your own.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: YouTube.com

What You Need to Know About Your Chapstick Addiction

There are online forums for this.

It's 9 a.m. and I've just gotten to the office to start my day. I start working and then about fifteen minutes later something seems off. Oh FUCK. Oh my God, please no, this can't be happening to me - I forgot my chapstick at home. Well this is it, this is where I silently die of dried lips.

I begin texting everyone I know - my roommates, my boyfriend, my friends, "Please help. I left my chapstick at home and now I'm panicking." Yes friends, you guessed it: I am full on addicted to chapstick.

For the past five years, I've been putting chapstick on my lips at least every twenty minutes. I always have a tube with me; at the gym, in the car, at the pool, at the grocery store, at work. Anywhere and everywhere. It's disgusting really. When I go longer than 30 minutes without being able to put chapstick on, my lips are extremely dry and I just have the urge to pick and pick at them until I can rub on my chapstick.

So if you're anything like me, you might be wondering, "Can I really be addicted to chapstick?" Scientifically, chapstick addiction isn't considered a real "textbook addiction" quite yet, but it is considered to be serious. There are even online forums where chapstick users can vent and describe their daily struggles that come with being "addicted."

What actually happens is that the frequent use of chapstick ends up drying out your lips - making the feeling of going without it so much worse. Too much chapstick can cause dermatitis, which is severe dryness and cracking around the lips. Doesn't sound too fun does it?

So what are we supposed to do when we literally can't go twenty minutes without smearing that chapstick all over our lips, instantly calming our nerves? Since lip balm addiction isn't considered physiological, but instead psychological, experts say all it takes to kick the addiction is a couple weeks cold turkey.

Your lips will hate it, your mind will hate it, and your body will hate it, but it has to be done unless you want to spend your life with your chapstick constantly by your side.

The chapstick addiction life can be a sad life. I don't care what scientists say, this is a real addiction. No one understands me like my chapstick understands me. It's always that nice little reminder of a friend in my pocket, a buddy in my purse, a loyal protector on my nightstand. If you're a chapstick addict, then I support you. Most people just don't get it.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: brianhau308

Turnt Off

And the problems that come along with binge drinking.

FlockU Presents is a new vertical we've launched for longform pieces about topics you care about - everything from sex and body shaming to the history of beer pong to how terrorism affects you as a college student.

As a student living in the UK, binge drinking in college is visible on a day-to-day basis. It's an issue that is usually swept under the rug, or normalized with an increasingly alarming ease. Before college, I'd have never imagined that I'd be capable of drinking at least twice a week. Yet this is considered standard in some places.

At college, we have the tendency to glorify binge drinking and alcohol abuse.

"Omg I've gotten wasted two nights in a row, I'm such an alcoholic."

"Yo fam, last night I downed one LITER of ciroc. I was HELLA turnt."

"You mixed vodka, gin, whiskey AND beer? You're such a heavyweight, Connor!"

We talk about drinking huge amounts of alcohol for extended periods of time with such glee and delight, as if it's some sort of achievement. Really, we're just screwing up our liver and risking the start of a downward spiral that could lead to alcoholism (or worse)!

The issue of excessive alcohol consumption can have massive consequences, but it is trivialized to a huge extent among college students everywhere.

Every year, over 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related injuries. This includes injuries from driving under the influence of alcohol.

It's not just injuries to oneself that occur, but to others too. Annually, almost 700,000 students are assaulted by another student under the influence of alcohol. And as if that's not bad enough, alcohol contributes to the sexual assault of just about 100,000 students every year.

1 in 4 students also report academic consequences due to drinking. This includes falling behind in class, missing class altogether, failing exams and flunking the school year. It's hard to treat alcohol like a joke when it's inarguably harming yourself, your peers, and your grades.

Binge drinking can also have an impact on colleges as institutions. Studies have shown that 25 percent of college administrators at colleges with low-level drinking habits have complained about either "moderate" or "major" vandalism and property damage due to alcohol. The number stands above 50 percent for colleges with high-level drinking habits..

I spoke to Stuart Sowah, an alumnus of the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, about alcohol in college. Stuart is a staunch teetotaler, and I wanted to see what observations he's made on binge drinkers at college.


Craig Debrah: Stuart, how long have you been teetotal?

Stuart Sowah: I'm not gonna lie, I don't know what that means.

C.D: It means how long have you been sober?

S.S: Well the last time I drank was when I was about 13 years old. My brother and I raided our dad's alcohol cabinet and drank heavy spirits. I didn't get intoxicated though.

C.D: Did you get spanked?

S.S: Nah, to this day he still doesn't know about it!

C.D: So why exactly are you teetotal?

S.S: Many reasons. I've seen what it does to people. My friends started drinking when we were underage and I didn't want to start like them and ruin my liver. Alcohol is also super expensive.

C.D: Have your friends ever tried to pressure you into drinking?

S.S: Even my parents have.

C.D: How do you have the resolve to say "no", ALL THE TIME?

S.S: Peer pressure has never been an issue for me.

C.D: Tell me the top three craziest things you've seen drunk friends do?

S.S: Sleeping in the middle of the road, fighting yet missing every punch thrown, and extreme vomiting.

C.D: Extreme vomiting?

S.S: Throwing up every 10 seconds for a sustained period of time.

C.D: Stuart, have you ever encountered anyone at school who you think suffers from alcoholism?

S.S: Several. The worst one was a Welsh housemate of mine.

C.D: What was so bad about them?

S.S: When she got drunk, she'd vomit all over herself and still attempt to function normally with vomit in her hair, on her clothes and in her hands.

C.D: That's messed up. How often was she drinking?

S.S: Sometimes up to four times a week.

C.D: What do you notice about all heavy drinkers in college?

S.S: They all repeat the same dreaded line almost weekly; "I'm never drinking again". They all master their bodies very well and know how to get wasted as quickly as possible.


On the opposite side of the spectrum, I spoke to a good friend of mine who had problems with binge drinking last year while in college. He has always been a heavy drinker, but he started getting sick and feeling extreme pain in his stomach and side after binge sessions. He asked to remain anonymous, so we've redacted his name and used a fake one.

Craig Debrah: Tell me about the problems drinking has caused you to have.

Lex: It started around February 2015. I was in Belgium at the time, and the morning after a night of heavy drinking, I had pain in my stomach and side. That was the first time I experienced it, then in September it happened again, although this time it was ten times worse. The pain was unbearable so I went to the hospital.

C.D: What did they diagnose you with?

Lex: They ran mad blood and urine tests and told me I had been drinking too much and that it was hurting my kidneys and liver.

C.D: Did they prescribe you with anything?

Lex: Nah, they just told me to stop drinking for the next three weeks and see what happens. I only lasted two though!

C.D: So you went back to heavy drinking?

Lex: Well, before the whole hospital thing I was bingeing about 3 times a week. After that I cut down to about once a week and didn't consume as much alcohol on any individual occasion. I've been good ever since.

When discussing the cons of alcohol, we tend to forget the very real health risks it can pose. My friend learned the hard way that our bodies simply are not built to tolerate large

Just to be clear, no one is saying to go teetotal and not touch a drop of alcohol anymore. My only advice is to be careful. Keep an eye on your consumption of alcohol and if problems start to arise more frequently, that's when you should start to ask questions.

When the fun stops, stop.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: addie2354

The Curse of Millennials

Student loan debt is a real fucking problem.

FlockU Presents is a new vertical we've launched for longform pieces about topics you care about - everything from sex and body shaming to the history of beer pong to how terrorism affects you as a college student.

It's on all of our minds. It's part of Bernie's campaign. It's breathing down our backs and throttling the frail necks of our wallets. It's student loan debt.

Now, the phrase, "student debt," has been uttered to the point where it's become a buzzword. We talk about it so much that when we try to envision the debt itself we think of enormous piles of cash, or canvas sacks with dollar signs on them. Or Scrooge McDuck's vault.

In reality, student loan debt operates more like that scene in The Road to El Dorado where all those women are throwing gold into a whirlpool, except we students are the women, the gold plates are stacks of cash, and the whirlpool is The GovernmentTM (or something equally nebulous and elusive).

We pay it back and it flows through some shady backrooms with exposed pipes and evil businessmen in pinstriped suits smoking fat cigars, sneering at the meager pennies we're able to give up to make progress on our loans.

Where does it go? Wherever FAFSA tells you, because where the money goes isn't as important as the fact that you have to pay it back, and often. Students are in debt for years. People are still paying loans into their 30s or 40s, depending on the size of the loan/interest/cost of schooling. That's a lot of gold to be tossing into that whirlpool.

So, exactly how much are students expected to pay back? According to The Institute For College Access and Success, (which keeps track of statistics like this to wave in Congress's face to show them how they're inhibiting their own rising generation), in 2014, 69 percent of college seniors graduated with debt. Within that 69 percent, the average amount borrowed is about $30,000. In 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal, this spiked up to more than $35,000. Indeed, the trend since 2004 shows that each successive year of graduates is accruing more and more debt.

Why? Short answer: the economy. Because of inflation, school tuition is going up. But because the economy is still staggering around on spindly little chicken legs, student aid grants coming from places like FAFSA aren't keeping up with the demand. There's too much to pay, and too little to cover it because there's too little to go around. Hence all the "FAFSA gave me fourteen dollars this semester," memes. And the sad thing is, that's not even much of a joke.

I'll put it in perspective. A senior in my department was accepted to the School of Visual Arts in New York. A great school, with a great curriculum, and huge out-of-state tuition. Specifically, $30,000 a year, PLUS room and board, PLUS all the other little things you'd have to pay for, like off-campus dining and the subway. The total after all that's added together? Over $56,000. And financial aid was willing to spot this senior a grand total of $10,000.

That much money is a lot to ask of anyone, not even looking at the fact that the $10,000 aid probably comes with a lot of stipulations, such as remaining a full-time student. (Read the fine print so you don't accidentally screw yourself). There's also the small fact that it has to be paid back at some point. So if you're taking, at minimum, a $10,000 loan (which is pretty generous, by the way,) every year for four years, you've got a five-figure sum plus interest you're paying back.

If you go Super Senior, then it gets worse because credit prices get jacked up for part-time students. You can actually end up paying more for ten credits than you would've paid for fifteen.

I suppose it could be worse. This person could have wanted to go to medical school and incur up to $170,000 in student debt, which is mind boggling. Just imagine someone putting a gun to your head and saying you had ten years to pay back $170,000. Would you cry? Because I'd cry.

So let's talk about that, paying it back. We all have to, eventually, and to pay it back you need the money to do so. And to get that money you need a job. And to get a job there need to be: A) job openings, and B) job openings that do not expect grads with degrees to work fifty hours a week for less than $10 an hour.

And as much as our parents tell us to, "pound the pavement and knock on some doors," like it's still 1976 and that's a thing that people can still do, it's becoming more and more difficult to find a job out of college that actually utilizes our degree and pays moderately well.

Here's another story, this time from a member of the class of 2014. It was their first summer out of college and they had that debt to pay off, so they decided to get a job immediately to get a jump on those payments. Problem is, most employers want an inordinate amount of experience for entry level jobs; "2 years prior experience in serving tables," is a real thing I have read. So here they are, fresh out of college with a degree and a resume, and they end up pulling a customer service gig for the first eight months until they get their break.

And that's what we all need to get the ball rolling on those payments; we need that one job that gets us in the door. For some people, (the ones blessed by angels), that job is right out of the graduation gate. For others, it's a few months later, and for others still it can take years to find something that sticks.

This doesn't even count the people that don't graduate and still have loans to pay back, a section of the student debt crisis that goes largely unnoticed. Imagine the problems listed above and having to solve them without a bachelor's degree.

There is one bright spot in all of this, however, and while it doesn't solve the problem, it does lessen it. Again according to The Wall Street Journal, graduates who are landing those big-break jobs are making pretty good salaries. An average of $50,000 a year kind of good. And while no student-loan debt is better than manageable student-loan debt, at this point, in this economy, with the amount of stress our generation is under?

Let's take what we can fucking get, honestly.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: tianxinqi.com

Struggles of Being The Girl Who's Always Down to Party

I'm down any day that ends in y.

If you're anything like me, then you'll understand the frustration of wanting to go out all the damn time and having no support from your friends. When I was a freshman, I kid you not, I went out six times a week.

This was a little excessive when you added in the hangovers, weight gain, and the impact to my grades. But I don't regret it; and I wouldn't necessarily say I've changed my ways. Instead, I've just learned how to manage my time so that I can still be the girl who's always down to go out.

I pride myself in being the only one in my friend group convincing everyone to go out on a Tuesday night or going to a day drink on a Sunday afternoon, but it definitely takes a toll.

The hangovers are so damn real.
We've all been there: Walking to class with your shades on and wondering why the hell you continue to put your body through this torture. Well let me tell you why. When you graduate, you aren't going to remember the hangovers you went through, but you will remember the laughs you had while downtown with your girls or the stupid mistakes you made that shaped you into who you are today. Wake up, take an Advil, and prepare yourself for the next night's festivities.

People definitely judge you.
I don't understand this because who wouldn't want to be that girl who is always having fun? But people seriously try to kill my vibe and tell me I don't have my life together because I'm too focused on going out and having fun. There's truth in this, BUT as long as I'm learning from my classes, somewhat focusing on the future, and being healthy, then fuck you, I will go out as much as I please.

Honestly, most of the time, people will only judge you because they wish they could be you. It takes talent to go out as much as I do and still function as a human being. I've gotten my fair share of sarcastic comments like, "Do you even take classes?" The answer is yes bitch, I do take classes. I do my work, I study, I pass my classes, but I don't make my life depend on it.

Your friends get hella annoyed with you.
Ironically, my best friend hates going out and would much rather prefer to sleep in her bed all night. I mean I understand this sometimes, but come on, you have time to sleep when you're not in college and working a boring, grown up adult job. I physically have to drag her and some of my other friends out of bed, and that's OK.

I keep telling myself they'll thank me when they graduate, and although they don't see it happening now, I know it will. I'm also always the one constantly blowing up our group chat: "Hey who's coming out with me tonight?" "Hey what's the plan for tonight?" "Never mind, here's the plan. All you bitches are coming, so get ready, see you in an hour." Sorry I'm not really sorry at all.

Sometimes you end up going out with all guys because your girls just can't keep up.
Seriously, where is my bid to a fraternity? Sometimes I think I would fit in so much better in a fraternity than a sorority. I can shot gun that beer just as fast, and I can take just as many shots as the next guy. (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration.)

Desperate times call for desperate measures and more likely than not your guy friends will be willing to go out even when your girlfriends won't do it. Embrace it, ladies, and embrace the free drinks.

People don't take you seriously.
Once in a blue moon, there are nights that I'm too sick, too tired (extremely rare), or too unprepared to go out the night before a big test. On these nights, my friends will look at me like I'm someone different completely. Actual conversation I've had:

"What's the plan tonight?"

"I'm not going out."

"Haha no seriously, what's the plan?"

Now this can definitely be taken as a compliment, but it's also hard to be the girl no one takes seriously. Sometimes I'm stressed as hell but no one cares because it's my own fault, right? If I hadn't gone out so much, maybe I wouldn't be so behind. Although that might be a completely valid statement, I'm still damn glad I'm not the girl who's staying in trapped behind a textbook every single night.