Essay by cryingflameUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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I can clearly remember my first semester at college. The innocent expectations before I arrived of the all night study sessions fueled by pizza and ice cream, the innumerable clubs and activities that would introduce me to new friends with common interests, and the independence of having my own dorm room to come back to at night. All of these are the timeless traditions associated with college. Unfortunately, what I found were another set of traditions. My fellow students were more interested in all night parties fueled by jello shots and vodka, the extracurricular clubs had few members and infrequent meetings, while the dorm became a place of loud, drunken voices from students struggling to remember exactly which room they were in and where their keys were. Was my experience a solitary event?

Not quite. Each year 15 million students enroll in college and sadly, about one third of those students fail to enroll for their second year, often due to alcohol or other drug use.

(1) According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the first six-weeks of the semester are particularly critical to a first-year student's academic success. The binge drinking that occurs during these initial weeks of college often sets the pace for the rest of the year. Nearly half of all college students binge drink (five or more drinks at a time for men, four of more for women.) (2) and as a non-drinker, I was able to watch the problems related to alcohol use that my other underage counterparts experienced. These problems ranged from monetary to academic and legal as the drinking became more of a lifestyle and less of a weekend pastime. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention college students drink an estimated four billion cans of beer each year...