This I Believe

Elisa - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

“We were on a mission.” My friend began describing her usual Friday night adventure to me. Her mission was to get drunk. This mind set encompasses a large part of the college culture. Have we unconsciously replaced the goal to live life with the mission to get drunk?

I had.

I grew up in a conservative home. My parents didn’t drink very often and alcohol was never the topic of conversation. Because we didn’t talk about alcohol, I never fully grasped the negative effects in misusing it. I was oblivious to my own naïveté. It wasn’t until I came to college that I began to see the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption first hand.

My first year at Penn State was very difficult for me. Being almost 4000 miles from home made me feel more homesick every day. I had a very hard time finding friends with whom I could relate. I felt out of place. It seemed to me that the only social activity here was drinking, and I didn’t want to be a part of that. I began to act content with the secluded life I led.

The year passed by, and it wasn’t until the end of it that I finally gave in to the pressures of being a college student. I was sick of not having friends… I was sick of spending all of my time alone. So, I went to a party and drank for the first time in my life. And it felt good. Looking back, I realize that it wasn’t just the alcohol that felt good; it was the attention I got by being drunk.

My sophomore year started and I began to make more friends. I went to a lot of parties and I drank every weekend. I finally felt happy! I was blinded by an illusion of happiness.

Alcohol became a way for me to let go of all the stress and loneliness that I had trapped inside of me. It was a way for me to feel welcome at Penn State. And honestly, it was a way for me to avoid real life.

Alcohol let me forget my life…

I woke up one morning after going out the night before, and I had forgotten how I got home. Not remembering part of my life scared me!

I made a decision: Alcohol would not take away my memories! I made friends who drank only on occasion. The key to their drinking was that their mission was not to get drunk. Their mission was to enjoy the company of their friends, enjoy the taste of their beverage, and to remember their night when they woke up in the morning.

This I believe: My mission is to finish school; to build lasting relationships with my family and friends along the way. I strive to grow closer in my relationship with God and to be happy in everyday life. My mission is to remember my life!