You can’t mix alcohol and achievement
RAEGAN HEDLEY, LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST
On Feb. 25, CBC released a 45-minute documentary called “Girls’ Night Out.” The documentary is about how binge-drinking culture is on the rise among young women and how the dangers of binge drinking are so downplayed that we don’t even see anything wrong with it anymore.
Why am I writing about binge drinking when my column is normally about professionalism? Well, it turns out your personal life outside of college has something to do with your overall wellbeing and your potential to thrive both inside and outside of school.
You might say at this point, “pfft whatever, everyone in college drinks to deal with stress,” or “I still get all my assignments in and show up to class on time, so it doesn’t matter what I do on the weekends.” That’s all well and good, but 80 per cent of young women at university campuses across North America are binge drinking.
The documentary takes you on a night out with a group of young-twenties women, explores why women binge drink (they attribute it to social acceptance, self-worth, stress and body image) and features in-depth interviews with authors, young recovered alcoholics and journalists who tell their stories.
How easy is it to grab a beer with classmates after a long week? One drink turns into four, and then you’re staying out later than you thought and waking up feeling like garbage with the same to-do list as the day before.
During my five years of post secondary education, I’ve had nights where I drank to forget about the immense stress and pressure I put on myself to do well in school. A bottle of wine is easy to reach for when assignments are plenty.
I took a month off drinking in January 2016, and for the first time in my adult life, I had to learn how to manage my stress without using alcohol as a coping mechanism. It’s hard to admit, but it was extremely tough and very eye opening.
While college might seem like the time to get all the partying out of your system, this is also the time to try new things. Try being without alcohol for a month and see how well you connect with people. How easy it is to do homework on Saturday mornings. How much less tired you are.
Twenty per cent of young women who binge drink meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. College doesn’t have to be this way when it comes to drinking, but it’s so prevalent that we’re blinded to it. Just search any Instagram account marketed toward millennial women, and you’ll see what the documentary is trying to get at. You can’t swing a cat on social media without hitting a post connecting female bonding with drinking — Cosmopolitan and Bustle are especially bad for this.
Watch the documentary and see for yourself. Maybe you’ll realize your social life isn’t as peachy as you thought it was.
Raegan Hedley is a sassy millennial who aspires to someday become a kick-ass business professional. In the meantime, she writes on her blog at raegjules.com and tweets way too much (@raegjules).