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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Basic Drinking In America


She walks into Riley’s, screaming, “Buy me a shot!”

Figuratively though, since she is about the hundredth girl to walk in on her 21st birthday with that infamous pink sash.

In my opinion, this is the most overrated way to celebrate ones day of freedom. Instead of creatively planning for this day that we all start counting down to after high school graduation, we follow along the lines media has set before us.

It seems as though it’d be better to recreate Jeff Chang’s adventures in the comedy 21 & Over than to celebrate in a way that keeps us from having regrets.

As Tim Elmore of The Huffington Post explained, in most cultures becoming an adult is a rite of passage. Maybe it is learning how to build a roof or going away from home to learn a different culture, in the end it is something that will benefit you and your overall adult life.

Elmore goes on to explain how in America, none of those things apply when we finally reach that ‘adult age,’ instead the focus is on sex and alcohol.

The anticipation of turning 21 in America is extreme. Only one thing is expected of you…shots. 21, that is.

According to the American Psychological Association, a study conducted at the University of Texas reported that 75 percent of its students reported some type of negative consequence as a result of drinking on their 21st birthdays.

So with all the studies done on the negative effects of going your hardest on your 21st, why do we continue to put ourselves through these horrendous hangovers?

I believe it is because America closely follows media for their everyday activities. Most Americans let media dictate their day to day decisions and most importantly here, how to blackout out on their 21st birthday, which makes for some overrated celebrations.

The New York Times highlights this overrated trend of attempting to consume 21 drinks on the big day, referring to research the University of Missouri conducted, which stated that 34 percent of men and 24 percent of women reported consuming 21 or more drinks on the big day.

The bar crawl seems to be everyone’s go-to when celebrating the big two one. All we did to prove this was ask Riley’s how many “blow job shots” they give out throughout the month. However, when asked they laughed and stated it was too many to keep track of.

It seems to me America lacks originality and tends to follow such overrated trends in most cases, especially when we officially turn into adults. And by adults, I mean we are finally able to buy our own beer and cigarettes (since the country decided we officially became adults at the age of 18).

Rather than planning something that will benefit oneself in the long term we instead look to what our peers are doing, which seems to be attempting to take 21 shots at every bar in town.

So in place of Vegas, take that money you had stored away and do something substantial that you will remember. In the long term, you will be getting your money’s worth and will be able to positively look back at your 21st birthday with no regrets and with a clear vision.

Instead of throwing on that pink sash and hitting the town, leave the sash at Spencer’s and instead take a trip to Europe or attend a music festival, and for everyone’s sake do not attempt to down 21 drinks in one night.

Nicte Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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