Keep your head





Recently, I reached a milestone that some spend most of their college careers waiting for. It is a time where doors are opened and bank accounts shrink. When freedom is achieved and the destination of adulthood seems in grasp. I turned 21.

Now, I remember every minute of my twenty-first birthday. I remember the anticlimactic moment of the security guard taking my I.D. and immediately handing it back to me without question. I remember the humbling experience of walking into the Comber and realizing it is not any nicer inside than it is outside. And I remember the countless hours of singing and dancing with half of the school on a Wednesday night. I remember it all.

I realize that this puts me in the minority, too. Birthdays should be unforgettable, but number twenty-one? That’s the one that you’re supposed to leave at the bar. I was reminded of this the next day when every other question I got was, “Did you blackout?” The surprised and often disappointed looks I received after answering that question were a little confusing to me. Was I supposed to blackout?

Conventional wisdom says no. Entering an uncontrollable state of intoxication where memories are erased and experiences are blurred is something I think many would view as a negative. But that’s not the point. The point of this column is not to discuss whether blacking out is dangerous or not. It is. No, the point is to examine the casual nature with which people talk about it.

Because blacking out is not casual. So to write off a night out by saying, “I blacked out,” is not okay. It ignores the other people that you interacted with when you were in that state. It ignores those that you fist-fought with as well as those who you befriended. The biggest misconception of blacking out is that it is a personal issue that the person needs to resolve on their own. When someone is out of control, it puts every other person in the room at risk because his or her actions are unpredictable and out of character.

That is not to say that every blackout ends in harm, either. People have had incredible nights of enjoyment, and still woken up with the same blank space in their minds. Maybe it’s just me, but life is too beautiful not to want to remember it. The good, the bad, the awkward. All experiences are an opportunity to grow as an individual and to impact those around you. And that is impossible when you blackout. We are always stressing the importance of living in the moment and being present and never wasting a moment. So why would you do the exact opposite of all of those things?