Katie Linder –
We’ve all heard people say that college is supposed to be the best times of our lives. College is the time when we are free from our old restrictions and free to explore who we are as adults and to fully realize what the world has to offer.
For many people, these explorations come in the form of experimentation, the most common and well-known example of this being drinking. Attending a residential college like Illinois College, chances are that either you, one of your friends, or someone else that you know on campus has drank alcohol relatively recently, even if you and everyone else that you know is under the legal drinking age of 21. At college, it seems like underage drinking is almost a part of life for most people. But, when does this become a problem?
I don’t believe that drinking under 21, when done responsibly, is a huge deal. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve drank before, even though it’s over a year and a half until my 21st birthday. However, there’s one thing that I’ve never done when drinking.
I’ve never posted about it on social media.
On any given weekend, I could scroll through my Facebook newsfeed or check my Snapchat stories and see countless posts about people partying and drinking. Yes, some of those people are legal. However, most of my friends who actually post about doing it are still well over a year away from legally being able to drink.
I don’t have a problem with underage drinking that is done responsibly. That being said, posting and flaunting your activities while intoxicated is one of the worst things that you can do. Even if your privacy settings are as tight as they possibly can be, thinking that your posts are safe from scrutiny from people who you wouldn’t want to see them is deluding yourself into a false sense of security. Even though drinking is much more accepted in college than in high school, at least from my experience, flaunting your drinking habits is just asking for trouble.
Though I’d always seen posts on social media about drinking and partying, it wasn’t until New Year’s Eve that I fully recognized how big the problem was. As I was sitting at a friend’s house in Champaign watching Disney movies and playing Cards Against Humanity, the only pictures and videos that I saw on Facebook and Snapchat were of friends drinking and partying. If I remember correctly, every single person who posted was well under 21.
As the daughter of someone who owns his own business, I know from experience that employers do, in fact, pay attention to social media posts for potential employees. I’ve heard stories of people being turned away from jobs because of posting things during their college years that came back to haunt them. As college students, sometimes we think that we’re invincible, that we’re living inside of a bubble for these four years and that nothing we do now, with the exception of our education, will have any sort of lasting impact on our future.
Though it might be a nice thought to think that you can do anything now, get it out of your system before the real world hits and we’re supposed to be mature adults, and not face repercussions, that just isn’t the case. These are the years that are supposed to teach us how to grow up and act like responsible adults. Learning how to safely and responsibly drink alcohol is a part of that, but so is learning how to navigate the world of social media.
I’m not saying that underage drinking, when done responsibly, is bad. However, I am saying that posting about it is and that it could have some potentially harmful consequences in the future. The next time you’re at a party or even just hanging out in a friend’s dorm, remember that social media is more powerful than we think. Posting pictures could come back and haunt you in the future.
Is it really worth the risk?
Katie Linder, from Jacksonville, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in English at Illinois College. Katie is an opinions writer for The Rambler, a consultant in the Campus Writing Center, and a member of the IC concert choir.