Partner Post: You Don’t Have to Drink in College

This weekend, I abstained from drinking to test what a sober weekend in college is like. I was also lucky to be graced with the presence of my wonderful parents, Randy and Janet, this weekend. You would think their presence would make my sobriety vow easier, but then again, you don’t know my parents. #FamiliesThatDrinkTogetherStayTogether

Watch as I share what it was like staying sober for one weekend in college, the pleasant surprises, and what I learned:

It was certainly refreshing to discover that I do not need to rely on alcohol to have a good time with my friends and family. At the same, I believe there is a time and a place for everything, and when it comes to learning about the positives and negatives of alcohol, college is the perfect time and place. In college, you’re old enough to drink legally, yet your responsibilities outside of class are scare. You have a community of people who are going through the same things, so you can easily recover from your mistakes. Once you graduate, these factors change. Often times, those who don’t learn their limits in college will still have a wild phase, but likely at the inconvenient age of 30 or 50.

While I now highly recommend everyone discover the internal bliss that comes with abstaining from alcohol, I also encourage you to let loose every once in a while. Just check in from time to time and ask yourself, “Am I drinking out of desire, or out of habit?” Now go ahead and crack open that box of wine in your kitchen. It’s about to be a long week; you deserve it.

Special thanks to @KehoeFromReno for help with my blog tonight! Update: Brian’s blog, The Sober Semester, is now located on Tumblr.

What would you do during a sober weekend? Tweet Brian or me about it and we might retweet you!

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Advice from a Graduate: “Take Your Time”

It’s a conversation that I am all too familiar with. Someone asks me, “So, are you graduating this semester, or…?” leaving the question open-ended, as if I don’t have a plan for my future, or as if I’m somehow ashamed that I’ve chosen to remain in school for a fifth year. I find this conversation amusing for a few reasons.

First, I actually feel more confident now than ever before in regards to what my future holds. Maybe this victory lap is exactly what I needed to realign my priorities and figure out what’s next. Second, I find that the people who ask me this question tend to be the same people who don’t have their own lives quite in order yet. How about we take Miley’s advice and not judge each other, kay? Thanks.

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The thing I find most amusing about this conversation, however, is the general reaction I receive when I tell people that I’m in school for a fifth and final year. The general consensus tends to be, “Take your time!” *See also: “There’s no rush,” “Stay as long as you can,” and “That’s normal.”

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Among those who reassure me that my life is not some sort of disaster-in-the-making is my good friend, and former Van Wilder himself, Elliott. Elliott graduated from the University of Nevada in May 2012 after an impressive six-year college career, when he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He now resides in San Diego, Calif., where he works 50 hours a week at a PR agency, lives with his girlfriend, Lisa, and often reminisces on his college days.

Being just two years removed from the college scene, Elliott is in a perfect position to provide valuable insight to undergraduates who want to make the most out of their college experience.

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EC: What does your typical week look like nowadays?
ES: Work from around 8-6ish, go home, eat dinner with the girlfriend, usually catch some TV or play some video games, then get in bed around 10. Occasionally I’ll go to happy hour with some of my coworkers from the agency, but that’s only about once a week.

EC: Compare that to your typical week as an undergraduate.
ES: I was also working most days the last year or so, so I would be going to work and class all day Monday through Friday, but I would be going out a lot more often on weeknights. Also, I was doing university and Greek events throughout the week — always kind of running around.

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EC: If you could, would you change anything about your college experience?
ES: I honestly wouldn’t change anything. It’s funny how, looking back, a lot of things you stress out about in college can end up being insignificant. The experience you get both inside and outside of the classroom is the most important part of attending college, and I definitely feel I made the most of it.

EC: Be realistic, there isn’t anything you would change?
ES: I guess I wished I had a better idea of what I wanted to do earlier so that I wouldn’t have taken so many unnecessary classes.

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EC: Do you think that college students should try to graduate in four years?
ES: No. 4 years is just too quick. Don’t be in a rush to leave college and start the rest of your life, because the rest of your life doesn’t start right after college. It’s a rough road going from graduation to career, and you need to be ready for that.

EC: If you could give just one piece of advice to undergraduates, what would it be?
ES: My advice would be to talk to your professors — actually get to know them because they’re there for a reason. That, and you should definitely skip class at least once a month just to hang out and get drunk before 11 a.m. Take your time.

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What are your thoughts on my conversation with Elliott? Tweet them to us @its_elliott and @misserincollins and we might retweet you!

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