Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2013 8:25:22 PM
College: the time of great experimentation for many students. Everyone’s drinking, smoking, snorting, injecting, screwing, or jumping off something new and wild and awesome…or so it seems. Now, hand to God, I’ve done none of this nonsense while at school so far. However, I’d be lying if I told you I was never tempted to do such a thing. Many of my friends will occasionally go a little wild and invite me to join them. Same with a number of my professors. In fact, for my fine arts class, we had to listen to a podcast discussing the use of marijuana and alcohol in getting creative juices flowing and suppressing the part of the brain that says, “I think that’s the dumbest idea you’ve ever had. Don’t ever write that down or so help you God.” That’s how a lot of classics like Brave New World were written – yeah, fun fact, Aldous Huxley was hyped up on E throughout most of the writing process.
So here I am, a sweet innocent college freshman, throwing a lot on the line by studying writing rather than business or economics or something mildly useful in the real world. And many of my close friends and my most trusted professors and other writing mentors of mine are encouraging me to drink and smoke weed and just see what sort of fantastic literary ideas flow from that. I mean, hey, if something small like that will make my writing that much better, I want every edge I can get.
I’ve talked to my parents about this dilemma more than once. I want to keep on being the straight-edge good kid. It’s paid off a lot of times. I get a lot of leadership opportunities and special arrangements and such because I keep my nose clean and walk the straight-and-narrow. However, being a creative writer at heart, I want to be the best artist I can be, and if that comes at the cost of a little vodka and a few joints, maybe it’s worth it.
After the ball drop last night, I started getting drunk/high texts from my friends saying “hppay nwe year! Hears to an awweome 2013!” (yeah, the grammar and spelling was a lot like that). So my brother and I asked my dad what’s it’s really like to be drunk and if it’s all our friends hype it up to be. See, back in the day, my dad was the president of his fraternity, and he may or may not have had a drunken night or two lo those thirty years ago. And the more he got to talking about it, the less fun it seemed. He said you feel dizzy and out-of-control, and your motor skills go to naught.
I then brought up my dilemma of my friends, professors, and mentors encouraging my getting drunk and high for creative writing purposes. And he gave a lot of good advice and insight into the situation, but one piece in particular stood out to me. He said, “Be wary of taking advice like that from people who don’t have kids of their own.” And then, all of a sudden, it all made sense.
None of the people pushing this onto me had their own children to look out for. And while I’m sure my professors and friends do care about me, at the end of the day, I’m not their problem anymore. They can send me on my way with a kiss on the forehead and be done with me. But my family? I’ve got their name till the day I die. I really am their problem. Should I really fall to drugs or drinking and drop out of school, they’re the ones who have to worry about me. The university has nothing to do with me at that point.
The moral of the story isn’t about having no fun. Go have fun! That’s what school is for! But be yourself. Advice is great, but always weigh it against what you know deep down is right. So here’s to a fantastic 2013 to all my Stage of Life bloggers, and may the Muses always visit you when you’re sober :)