Tag Archives: College Life

Pass the Bottle and Party Up

Effects of drinking on college students

Nalie Frederick|

ST. THOMAS– According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) “about four out of five college students drink alcohol.”  In the Virgin Islands the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages is 18. As a result, a college freshman in the VI is allowed to purchase alcohol compared to a student in the United States who would have to wait until he or she is 21.

Due to the lenient drinking laws in the Virgin Islands, it is not the local college students that abuse the right to drink, but the foreigners coming from areas with strict laws against drinking, Jill wagner said.   All college students are affected by drinking whether they consume alcohol or not.

Many students between the ages of 18-24 consume alcohol and put themselves and others at risk for unintentional death.

Karence DeCosta, better known as Miss St. Thomas Carnival Queen in 2009, died in a car accident after her graduation celebration from the Charlotte Amalie High School. She died more than a month into her reign as queen.  It was suspected, but never confirmed, that alcohol was involved.

Many students consume alcohol and are not fully prepared for the worse outcome of the situation. According to NIAAA, about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.

Drunk smiley LadyofHats
Drunk smiley
LadyofHats

College drinking can result in termination from the campus and even worse, students can be restricted from the school property. Females who drink excessively are at risk of being assaulted and/or abused in their vulnerable state. The NIAAA states that more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape and 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.

While a vast majority of students do consume alcohol, not everyone does. “Joining groups such as brothers with a cause, sister to sister and SGA can help students refrain from alcohol” College senior Shana Gilbert said. 

Every college student needs to be aware that alcoholism is a disease. Alcohol is considered the gateway drug that leads to the use of other drugs and paves the way for addiction. The university offers a nurse and counselor that students can meet with to discuss their drinking issues and get help. Students may think they’re too young to be an alcoholic, but anyone constantly abusing alcohol is an alcoholic.

On St. Thomas, many college students attended the Metropolis Night Club due to its close proximity to the campus and its infamous “free all night” specials on Tuesdays. This made it easy for students to abuse the substance and drink excessively.  However, the club was shut down due to a consistency of violence and criminal activity.

“I do not drink and am not for drinking because it destroys the body, but I would advise those students who drink to be responsible and stay away from the campus when they do consume alcohol” freshman Paulita said.  Paulita is a mature student who lived on the island most of her life and supports alcohol awareness.

Drinking alcohol is not the problem, abusing the privilege is. If, as a college student, you feel the need or desire to drink, drink responsibly.

College life got you down?

The Struggles of Being a College Student

Denae Fleming|

ST.CROIX— College students face the struggles of dealing with finances, personal life and staying focused through the different types of stress.

There is a lot that has to be considered when it comes to making those decisions to acquire a higher level of education to better one’s future. No doubt everyone would and should want to achieve educational heights, but for many, there are some obstacles that can get in the way and cause the journey to become quite a challenge.

Finances are one of the top reasons for students quitting or taking a break from college, especially for the vast majority of students who are low income African Americans and Hispanics.

Even with numerous announcements of financial aid that are being advertised and spread, some students find it difficult to really handle the demands of school.

“There were times when I literally ate nothing but Easy Mac and Ramen Noodle,” Marcos Castillo said.

Castillo was one of the many who left the island of St. Croix for the mainland in hopes of pursuing a degree that he was passionate about. He has now graduated from Columbus College for Arts and Design with his bachelor’s degree.

“Some kids don’t think about the other stuff. They just want to go to college and experience the fun aspects of college life, but don’t ever really think about the scary parts,” Castillo said.

Castillo had to deal with living in a place that was completely new to him. He had to deal with different personalities, find means of transportation, figure out how he would eat every day, earn funds for necessities we normally take for granted when we don’t have to get them on our own.

He had to deal with those factors along with studying for school and dealing with his personal life.

One might read this example and say, “Oh that comes with the territory of college life.” But, do we ever stop to think how overwhelming it might be for some individuals?

Code Red! Work Overload!  Photo credit: www.plymouthsouth.com, Tis the Season to be Stressed.
Code Red! Work Overload!
Photo credit: http://www.plymouthsouth.com, Tis the Season to be Stressed.

People go through life changing events that occur around their college years, especially those that go straight from high school into college. Many take on relationships, part-time jobs, and go through a period of figuring out who they are. They are just finding out what’s important, maybe discovering their spirituality, and even who they are able to trust.

These are normal processes until they go wrong for some students.

The relationship that was once beautiful turned sour and has an emotional toll on both parties.

The job that was okay in the beginning is becoming demanding and overwhelming on top of school work.

You start to question your choice in major and worry if this is the direction you really want to take.

There's much more than school work that is going on in the life of students. Photo credit: theprgirlblog.wordpress.com,  Stress | The PR Girl
There’s much more than school work that is going on in the life of students.
Photo credit: theprgirlblog.wordpress.com, Stress | The PR Girl

You are pressured by “friends” to do things you’re not too comfortable doing, like drugs and alcohol. For those who already got caught up in drugs and alcohol, it’s a distraction in school and you find a hard time pulling away from it.

There are many factors that contribute to the stress that college students go through. How they handle is what is important because stress will always be a factor in life, whether you are in school or not.

I created a random question survey on the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. When asked, 11 out of 20 students said they listen to music if they are feeling overly stressed out. Four out of the 20 said they stop whatever they are doing and go for a walk or some form of physical activity. Three out of 20 said they go for drinks and two out of the 20 said they simply break down and cry depending on how severe the situation.

There are healthy ways to cope with stressful things regardless of whether or not you are a student.

It’s always great to find a positive hobby that involves physical movements. You should have at least one person you can trust to vent your problems to and maybe even get positive advice from. Make sure the crowd you hang around or affiliate with is comprised of uplifting, motivating and positive people; if this is not so, you might need to reevaluate who you consider friends.

It’s okay to take time off when you are overworked. Your mental health and overall well-being is more important than any other factor that contributes to your life.

Relax.

Yes, it’s college and it should be taken seriously, but you need to give yourself permission to chill out. This only one of the many chapters in your life.