People often ask me why I don’t really drink. A lot of people have asked me that question this week, since alcohol is a fairly common solution for the dreaded finals week writer’s block (or so I’m told).
Now, after three years at college and a lot of self-contemplation, I think I finally have a decent explanation.
I think part of my aversion to drinking is that I was raised in a home with two parents who never drink or keep alcohol in the house (and no, they’re not just morally uptight, religious weirdos. Okay, maybe weirdos; they did name their first child “September”).
Fun fact: my parents’ mutual dislike for alcohol is actually how they met in college—they were pretty much the only two people on their campus who didn’t drink every weekend. Instant couple.
While I acknowledge that my parents’ example undoubtedly impacted me, I am an adult, and I am capable of making my own decisions.
After some self-contemplation, I think my choice can be narrowed down to three primary reasons:
1) I like to feel in control of myself at all times.
2) I have a sister with developmental disabilities—I know how valuable a properly functioning brain is, so I don’t like to mess with the chemistry of mine.
3) I actually really don’t like alcoholic beverages. Like, all of them. My roommate has made it her life’s mission to help me with this, but I just don’t see her quest ending well (sorry, Ashley).
But really, why does it matter? It still strikes me as odd that, both at Augie and in the real world, I find myself frequently called upon to defend my decision.
Why do people actually care that I don’t drink? Do they think I’m going to judge them if they do? I’m honestly unsure of the reasons for these questions, but I can assure you now, I definitely don’t care about your alcohol intake.
Admittedly, it’s not always pleasant being the one who doesn’t drink. People assume that you’re a fun-hater when you decline to crack open a cold one with them, and casually mentioning that you’re not a fan of the effects of alcohol is a great way to get excluded from the next social gathering.
People who drink don’t always like to be around the person holding a Diet Coke (but that aversion typically wears off when they need a reliable DD. Trust me).
I’ll be the first to say that being less than enthusiastic about drinking, at Augie or at any other school, makes student life a little harder.
Because of the present expectation that everyone my age drinks, I used to be kind of embarrassed about my choice, but now, as an almost-senior, I’m over it.
We’re all practically adults here, and we should probably have reached the point where we can just respect each other’s decisions, no matter why they’re made.
So there you have it. Now go enjoy your summer beverages without fear of judgment. If you want company, I will happily sit with you, drink a Diet Coke and talk about anything other than why I choose to be boring.
September Symens is a junior English and journalism major from Omaha, Neb. She would like to thank you for reading her “Slices of Life” this year, even when they were whiny.