Morgan Jones | Captain Morgan on campus
Nuggets of Wisdom | Amidst a culture of drinking, Penn students must take responsibility for their escapades
January 17, 2013, 12:59 am·
Nuggets of Wisdom
Hey, it wasn’t really me who drunk texted you last night. It was Captain Morgan.
Sorry about that. I was sitting in Smoke’s and well, sometimes I can’t control myself — or him.
I’d love to blame it on the alcohol as Jamie Foxx tells me, but can I really?
Where do I draw the line between drunkenness and just plain old bad decisions? I would not have sent that text without that extra shot of the Captain, so surely the pirate’s to blame.
But the “who cares” or the “I was just drunk” attitude doesn’t fly. It doesn’t matter if it was the alcohol or you — when you’re nonchalant about your drinking, you put yourself and others in a dangerous position.
By dangerous, I’m not talking about a regrettable text — we’re young, we’re away from home, that happens. And most of the time, the worst that comes of those extra shots is an embarrassing moment or an inside joke from another time at Smoke’s.
Yet all too often, the results are on a much larger scale.
At Penn, there are both documented and undocumented examples of unfavorable consequences involving alcohol on campus that hit close to home for many of us.
Most recently is the death of Matthew Crozier, who fell over a railing at a 2010 New Year’s Eve party at Phi Kappa Sigma, commonly known as Skulls. Campus and national attention surrounding this issue has been extensive and his parents recently received $3 million in a settlement.
Undocumented, however, are the unreported trips to the hospital, close friends who have endured sexual abuse, theft and crossing personal boundaries with a stranger on the dance floor.
I know of a student who got hit by a car because he was blackout drunk and just stepped into the street. I know of girls on campus who became vulnerable due to the influence of alcohol and treaded into unwanted sexual territory.
I’m not saying these students are at fault. But it’s difficult to wake up and wonder what would have happened — or not happened — with a fewer number of shots.
There is a point when drunk stories are not funny anymore. These cases fall on a spectrum. Accidentally on purpose typing out a 1 a.m. text message is comparatively insignificant (though some argue devastating). Crozier’s death, on the other hand, is extreme.
There are other levels between texting and death that cause irreparable changes to people’s lives, and I have noticed what seems to be an increasing prevalence of them.
Back at Penn, I am reminded of how much alcohol plays into our culture. It factors into most weekend plans as well as about a couple evenings out of the week.
I see the sometimes severely negative impacts of such a pattern in a new light. It is reminiscent of a crowd of rebellious kids who still can’t hold their alcohol as opposed to upper-tier, Ivy League students.
A common message drilled in by parents — watch out for yourself and for your friends — needs to be resurrected on campus. We can choose to go out and black out or to stay in and write that paper — isn’t this what we all spent our rebellious teenage years waiting for? But we all have a personal responsibility to our friends and to our community at large.
Because, matched shot for shot against Captain Morgan, you will never win.
Morgan Jones is a College junior from Colorado Springs, Co. Email her at email@example.com or send her a tweet @morganjo_. “Nuggets of Wisdom” appears every Thursday.