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.

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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.

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College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

5 Things I've Learned From Working In Corporate

It's not like "Beauty and the Briefcase".

At the beginning of the summer, I was ecstatic to have two part-time internships at established companies. I felt like I would be the next Andrea Sachs. I loved thinking about decorating my desk, strutting into the office with a Starbucks in hand and getting those biweekly direct deposits.

Four weeks later, and I'm looking forward to the end of my internships, because I'll have time to be a nineteen year old college student during the summer--free of a forty-hour work week commitment. With that said, I'm grateful for the experience. I've learned a lot, made mistakes and discovered some aspects of what I do and don't want as a career.

If you're interning this summer, you can probably relate to these five things I determined from working in corporate:

It's not as glamorous as it appears on television.

Movies and TV shows have the tendency of making the office environment seem very appealing and enticing with hot men and women, classy outfits and exciting drama. However, I've quickly realized that this image distorts reality (like many things on screens do these days). Eight hour days are not my definition of "fun". Unpaid 30-minute lunches are a high luxury. Most days, I'd rather be rocking my classic college look. And no, I've never heard of any steamy office hook ups.

It really is all about money.

I never understood how important money is to people and companies until I worked a job in corporate. Numbers are super valuable, and I'm not talking about the low ones in my bank account. Revenue, profit, debt, etc. are what's on people's minds constantly in corporate. Nearly every decision made in any company happens with money at the center of attention. It doesn't seem right, but I suppose that's just how it is for businesses to thrive and people to make a living. I don't think anyone has the power to change that.

You can't escape the hierarchy or cliques.

You may have tricked yourself into thinking that middle school, high school and even college cliques would magically disappear post-college graduation. I hate to break the news that they won't. In corporate, I've concluded that most workers in each department stick to themselves; there's not a lot of integration among company workers on the whole. Plus, the sense of hierarchy is palpable in the office. People talk to higher-ups differently than they do to those below them or equal to them. Someone from senior management who treats people working under them with respect is one of the best things you can find in a working professional. I wish we could find them more frequently.

Interns don't have much say.

I agree that you get out of it what you put into it when it comes to internships, but I also think that corporate companies over all don't care too much about what interns have to say. They say they want fresh voices and innovation, yet simultaneously don't want to change their ways or take risks. It's been rewarding seeing some of my ideas implemented, but, at the same time, it's also disappointing, because I want to contribute more and feel like I'm incapable of that.

There's no rush.

Working in corporate gives me a smack in the face as to this is what I will most likely be doing for 40 years plus after college. That terrifies me. We're in a world that tells kids to not grow up too fast, but to also do things to prepare them for the "real world". I honestly think squeezing lemonade and waiting tables prepped me almost as much as working in corporate has. I may take a break from it next summer and do something more fun and exciting, for there will be countless office days in the further future. Enjoy being a student while you can!

Everyone's different. You may discover you love working in corporate and that it's your dream. You may find a company that treats their employees very well. As for me, I'm starting to brainstorm freelance opportunities and earning money through genuine passions of mine that don't involve a stuffy corporate environment.

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College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

Handy Tips For Big Girls In The Big Apple

Tips for the Empire State Of Mind

As a lifelong Philadelphian, street smarts, a natural appreciation for grid planned cities (please explain to me why anyone would lay out streets any way besides perpendicular?), and a general laxness about jaywalking were already well engrained in me by the time I arrived in New York City for the summer. However, as much as I love my hometown, the two square miles that encompass the whole of downtown Philly can't begin to prepare a person for the monstrosity that is Manhattan. Through my morning commutes alongside herds of interns motivated by their new resume additions, Subway rides to the West Village in a quest to fill my Instagram with more aesthetic desserts than acceptable for any white girl, and river to river runs to justify said quest, I have picked up on those few little tips that one can only learn from experience, and I am here to share them with you today! Sorry boys, but these tricks and tips to city livin' are just for the ladies who have their own special place in NYC's heart.

What's so wonderful about tip #1 is that you don't have to even be looking for this piece of advice in order to receive it! This one goes out to all of us gals with resting bitch face, or really any resting face at all.

Tip #1: "Smile More"
As the saying goes, New York is full of the happiest and most friendly people on earth, so sporting a natural ear to ear grin is pretty much expected for all of her great inhabitants... err great female inhabitants. Ladies, you're much prettier when you're smiling, and when getting from point A to point B we all know the end goal is to exude prettiness to our surroundings! So turn that frown upside-down, because if you don't, chances are the man who resides at Lafayette and 3rd will remind you to.

Manhattan is an island that is ever evolving. The skyline is forever being added to and once unvisited streets are constantly turning into retail and residential hot spots. But all of this growing up and out couldn't be done without the hard work of New York City's construction crews that line many a busy street and intersection. This next tip ensures that this great city can continue to flourish without limitation.

Tip #2: Don't be a distraction
As women, we've learned by now from years in our school systems that our bodies are vehicles of great distraction. Breasts, buttocks, thighs, heads, shoulders, knees, and yes, toes, constantly put our male counterparts at risk of diversion. Many morning commutes have taken me along sidewalks lined on either side with those hard working men whose poor heads cannot help but follow the pitter pat of my sandals on the cement. With New York temperatures breaking records it can be natural to want to indulge oneself in breezy sun dresses or skirts for work, but from experience I can confidently say that a floor length bathrobe and wide brimmed sun hat are the best ways to ensure that New York continues to prosper as an urban hub.

The most frustrating time to spend a summer in New York has got to be the months just shy of your 21st birthday... or so I thought. While the local club and bar scene are notorious sticklers for fakes, the dating scene is open to all!

Tip #3: You're never too young to have fun!
In NYC you're always meeting new people, and lucky enough, this often won't require any effort at all on your behalf! As a woman of the city, take a train, walk a block, or spend a few minutes on a park bench and a young man is soon to introduce himself before you know it! As someone who personally doesn't usually engage in activities with men who approach me, I wouldn't want to waste a minute of their time, and thereby resort to politely informing these suitors that I am of the ripe age of 16 before the conversation escalates too far. While in other cities this line has disappointed and scared of new male companions, you'll be surprised and pleased to learn that in New York my announcement has yet to fend off any new friends! Sixteen shmixteen, I still have tits, right!

This last piece of advice is one that I hope women everywhere can carry with them on their journeys through life, for it is love that makes the world go round.

Tip #4: Open your heart to love
Too many times I've watched on as women are approached, talked to, or applauded for their beauty by men who are met with harsh exclamations to "leave them alone" or "fuck off." Wounded as they are, these young men clearly have been raised to never give up, and give their tactics another go with the next female to walk by. But these high spirits can't be sustained forever, and it's time for us women to open our hearts to love. We can be better than the generations before us who rarely boast love stories about how they met their significant other when he yelled " Nice ass, sweetie!" That can be your love story! It's time to get over our self -loathing and finally allow ourselves to swoon when gifted with the compliments we truly deserve!

I hope you take these words of wisdom to heart and always remember that New York City is a place to be your prettiest, most reserved, most loving self!

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College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

The Struggles Of The Grammar Nerd

Take a look it's in a book.

1. When someone uses the wrong form of your/you're.

2. Or the wrong form of they're/there/their.

3. When someone doesn't use the Oxford comma.

4. When you post something on social media/send a text and accidentally misspell something or use incorrect grammar.

5. When you really want to correct your friend's grammar but you also don't want to be that person.

6. When people speak in text lingo.

7. When someone doesn't use proper punctuation.

8. When your friends always ask you to proofread their papers...

9. When someone uses a double negative...

10. When someone doesn't know the difference between affect and effect.

11. When someone doesn't use an apostrophe when signifying that something is possessive.

12. Or, when someone uses an apostrophe to make a word plural.

13. When you're listening to a song and the singer uses incorrect grammar.

14. And finally, when somebody tells you that you're a grammar nerd.

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College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

When Road Rage Strikes

Why are they stopping? The light is green?

We all have our good qualities, and we all have our flaws. What's one of my (many) flaws? I have road rage. But like, lowkey road rage. So, when I'm driving alone and someone on the road upsets me (which is quite often) I go full throttle, but if I'm with someone else in the car, I'm able to externally contain myself... but internally I will be BOILING.

Here are some reactions you might have if you have slight (or severe) road rage:

1. When you're going over the speed limit and some idiot behind you is tailgating you.

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2. Or when you have somewhere to be and the person in front of you is going 42 in a 55.

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3. Or when someone's going 55 in a 55... like, you should be going 60.

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4. When someone cuts you off on the highway.

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5. When it's backed up during rush hour and you're trying to switch lanes, but nobody is letting you in.

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7. When someone doesn't use their signal in general... where did you learn how to drive?

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8. When you have the right of way, but some impatient asshole goes before you.

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9. When you and another car arrive at a four-way at the same time, and both of you are waiting for the other to go... then you give them the signal to go, and then they give you the signal to go, so you start to go, and then they start to go...

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10. When the light changes to green and the person in front of you won't go.

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11. When some dumbass runs across a busy street and you have to slam on your brakes.

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12. When someone randomly slams on their brakes right in front of you.

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13. When you're trying to turn onto a busy road but the traffic just won't stop.

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14. When you're trying to turn onto a busy road and the traffic just won't stop and the person behind you honks at you.

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15. When someone honks at you in general.

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