M.A.E.

Pullman, WA

I'm currently 21 but I have been drinking since I was 17. In my freshman year of college, life was a blur of binge drinking, parties, drugs, and sex. I chose to opt out of the drugs and sex, but I've seen them go hand in hand with alcohol many a time, especially sex. I've had friends who were wasted and about to pass out at parties and because there was no one there to help them that was sober, they ended up sleeping with some stranger for a bed. If they had been at a bar, a bouncer or a bartender would have been able to not only cut them off from drinking but also to assist them to a cab rather than to a stranger's bed. Personally, since I've been 21 my drinking habits have curbed way down. I only go to the bar on the weekends and often don't buy more than a couple drinks. Before, I was going out whenever I could, wherever there was a party with a keg. Because I'm now 21, drinking has lost that rebellious edge and I find it just a casual, relaxing pleasure. If I had been allowed to drink at 18, this novelty would have probably worn off then instead. And, those three years of craziness would have been much different. Many of my friends are from foreign countries. Canada, Germany, Spain, Mexico...etc. They all get very confused at this notion of 21 and they see American teenagers as almost pathetic in respect to alcohol. This is because it has never been a big deal to them. Driving was always much more important to them than alcohol ever was. They can't seem to understand a system that allows you to drive a vehicle, which is much more dangerous, before you trusted to consume a beer in a restaurant. To them, the idea is almost ludicrous. I know that we are kidding ourselves with a 21 year old drinking age because I've witnessed the destruction first hand. I've seen people almost die on their '21 run' because the idea of drinking alcohol has been so elated in our culture because of an excessively high drinking age. I spent three years of my college career dreaming about being 21 instead of about my future. Now that I am 21 in my final year, I have forgotten what all the fuss was about. Good luck, John McCardell

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