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Opinion

Responsible behavior on birthday fosters positive experience

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November 4, 2011

There are many students on campus that are turning 21-yearsold this year. For some, this year marker in life doesn’t really matter. However, for others, finally being able to legally drink alcohol is often a cause for a major celebration.

Although legally there isn’t any way to stop those who choose to celebrate with alcohol, there is a fine line between celebrating and endangering your health. Birthdays should be about celebrating your life in a positive way. There are many ways to have a safe birthday if you choose to include alcohol. I happen to be one of those students who will cross that point in life where it is now legal to drink this year. In fact, that day was this past Wednesday, Nov. 2. I’m not one to think drinking is necessary to celebrate birthdays so I chose to have dinner with family. Having one or two drinks is OK in my opinion, but I wasn’t looking to get drunk.

If you are planning to drink on your 21st birthday there are precautions you can take to make sure you stay safe. Make sure you have a designated driver or on-foot-walker. No matter your transportation, be sure that you have someone that is willing to be there and make sure you get back home safely. Walking alone at night is never a good decision, especially when you are under the influence of alcohol. Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous as well. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of car accidents involving 21-year-olds and it can injure or even kill the people involved.

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for Wisconsin residents is 0.08. However, BAC levels of 0.05 or even lower may affect driving capabilities. A standard drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or wine coolers. For wine, the standard drink is equivalent to 5 ounces and it is also equivalent to 1.5 ounces of liquor. Watch what drinks you mix, as they can be dangerous depending on how strong the alcohol is in each one. Too much alcohol can lead to doing things you will regret the next day: blacking out, alcohol poisoning or even death. Keep in mind how much alcohol you have consumed and make sure that you aren’t drinking too much, too fast. There are websites that you can use to look up how your age, gender and weight will affect you when drinking. Use those to your advantage before partying.

I have heard stories about people getting so drunk that they blackout and don’t remember the night. Honestly, what is great about not remembering parts of your night? I once had a girl tell me about a time when she drank too much and ended up breaking her leg and foot because she fell down a flight of stairs. To this day, her foot is still not back to the way it used to be and she now walks with a noticeable limp. She doesn’t remember this incident happening but she had people that were with her explain what happened.

Birthdays are a time for celebrating life in a positive and upbeat way. No one wants to wake up the next morning and not remember how his or her birthday was. It’s OK to celebrate but stay safe while doing so.

Samantha Mayberry is a junior and is majoring in journalism. She is from Rochester, Minn., and loves to read, listen to music and take pictures.