My whole life, I have been a rule-follower. I have always been cautious and afraid to let go of all inhibitions. With that, comes anxiety with control and fear of getting in trouble. I knew going off to college meant being around a lot of things I hadn’t exposed myself to. But I was afraid of being feared as someone who wasn’t fun or that people wouldn’t want to hang out with me because of it. That turned out not to be true at all, but it was a legitimate fear many have.

I entered college worried about how to not put myself in a bad situation and I knew I wanted a career after college. Social media was at a peak where everyone posted pictures of everything. I was also aware that your social media would be checked by your future employers. If I wasn’t drinking, I made sure that if I was photographed, the drink I was consuming (normally a soda), was label out so there was not a question of whether or not I was drinking. It’s silly, I know but I wasn’t taking chances. 

I also never took interest in the party scene. I didn’t find getting drunk or even drinking to begin with all that interesting. However, I loved my time with my friends and I knew I could have fun without drinking. And let’s get one thing clear, I didn’t judge those who did. My friends having fun meant I was having fun. My friends never tried to pressure me into drinking. In fact, I always offered to be the designated driver because I wanted my friends to be safe. No one ever took advantage of my generosity and continually thanked me over and over.

Just because I wasn’t drinking didn’t mean I wasn’t having a good time. I would dance with my friends, sit back and people watch, and get to enjoy late night snacks at the restaurants downtown or even the fast food when I was driving my friends home. 

Once I turned 21, I began to have a drink or two when I went out, but I found that nothing changed from before when I had been with them. I didn’t need to drink to fit in. If I wasn’t in the mood for a drink, I wouldn’t get one. 

While going out was still fun even though I didn’t drink,  sometimes I didn’t want to go out. My friends would make plans and I really wouldn’t want to join in. I would spend my nights in with a warm bubble bath watching whatever show I wanted. Sometimes, I would read books and yes, some nights catch up on some homework. Other times, I would go over to grandma’s or even go home for the weekend.

I am introverted so I love my time alone, but I know not everyone is like that. So for you extroverts, I present to you my cousin. She is more extroverted and she is your typical Christian southern belle. She doesn’t go party. Instead, she spends a lot of time with her friends. They go hang out as a group on Friday night. Sometimes, they watch movies, sit around and talk, or go shopping. Other times, they do devotionals and journal together. 

There is always a place for you on a campus even though it may not feel like it. Any school is a party school at some level and, sometimes, it’s not easy to escape that kind of atmosphere. From my own experience, I can tell you it’s 100% possible to go to a “party” school without losing yourself in it. 

College is a time to explore who you are. Honor your beliefs, trust your gut, and enjoy your experience. 

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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