Contributed by Kimberly Yates, UNC Carpe Diem
Not everybody likes to be the designated driver.
You’re signing yourself up for a night of sobriety while your friends let the stress of the week dry up like the drops left in bottles that they seem to leave in their wake. By the end of the night, you might be trying to remember what about this was supposed to be so fun. Well before we write it off completely, let’s take a few things into consideration.
Alcohol – whether under-aged or legal – has its risks. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) cites that alcohol is the number one drug for America’s youth, and it is more likely to kill our age group than all illegal drugs combined. As college students, we may not have done the statistical analysis or have memorized the fact sheets, but we know that every time we refill our red cups with whatever unknown concoction the party is serving, we’re taking the chance that we might go just a little too hard and drink just a little bit too much.
And from time to time, that can lead to a drinking ticket.
After the initial panic subsides, what do you do next? You’ve got a drinking ticket, the prospect of a blemish on your record and angry parents yelling at you. You want this over with as quickly and painlessly as possible. After praying for time travel and contemplating moving far away, you’ve come up with no answers. So let me give you your solution. Carpe Diem.
Carpe Diem is a collegiate alcohol education program created to get you out of this pickle you’ve found yourself in. Not only is the class you’re going to take going to help get your charges dismissed and complete the four-hour requirement that UNC Chapel Hill sets, but it’ll also get you back on track with your now-strained relationship with alcohol. If you’re under-aged, maybe for you this means waiting until you’re 21. If you’re 21, maybe this means knowing your limits and finding ways to stick to it. Either way, Carpe Diem is there to help you— not judge you— and get you back to life at UNC.
In light of April being NCADD’s Alcohol Awareness Month, it’s especially important to find that balance. Students need to find a way to blow off steam, but health is a priority that can’t be overlooked.
So take this time during Alcohol Awareness Month to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Yes, it can be fun to shut down the stress of the week and open up a bottle. Yes, it can be fun to take the night off from responsibility. We do deserve some time to shut the computer and close the books. But there are other ways to do that and minimize the risks involved with alcohol, like volunteering to be the DD.
Being in a state of mental and physical well-being goes beyond just knowing the risks – it means acting on them, and that’s what Alcohol Awareness Month is all about. April is ending, but the sentiment continues in Student Wellness activities and services to keep all Heels knowledgeable about alcohol and prepared to take action in worst-case scenarios. Carpe Diem and Student Wellness know the steps you can take after getting a drinking ticket, but more importantly, they have the resources to keep you from getting a citation to begin with.
So challenge yourself. Be the DD. Maybe it’s not the college experience you’ve had thus far. Maybe it’s not the average Friday night out that you’ve gotten used to. But a night of being the DD minimizes your risk of getting a citation while still giving you a chance to get to the party, and that sounds like a good deal to me.