Whether you just successfully completed your maiden voyage (i.e. freshman) year of college or you anticipate heading back this fall to earn the final credits toward your degree from a South Carolina university, like most college students in the U.S., you're likely enjoying some down time this summer. Perhaps you have plans to go the beach. In fact, you might even have a job lined up in a beach town. After all, every penny you earn helps pay tuition.
If you're 21 or older, summer time activities might include imbibing alcohol. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with that but numerous issues should cause you to act with caution. Getting a DUI on summer break can have lasting, negative effects on your college career. The reasons you have for drinking alcohol might influence your choices, especially at social gatherings. That's why it's a good idea to have a support network in place, in case you need a ride or a legal problem arises.
Celebrating down time
Many college students say they drink alcohol because it lightens their mood or adds a festive feeling to most any occasion. This applies to life on campus or while students and faculty are on summer break. It's fun to celebrate, so why not make an ordinary social gathering a bit more festive by spiking the punch? That might be okay, as long as it doesn't lead to unlawful behavior, such as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
Peer pressure doesn't end in high school
Everyone likes to fit in, even when in adult crowds. There is often an adjustment period when you come home for the summer from college. The friends you have at home are likely not the same people you go to school with. Some students say they probably wouldn't drink so much if they were better at resisting peer pressure.
College life can be quite rigorous. You have a busy schedule there, have to study all the time, perhaps hold down a job and may even participate in sports or other extracurricular activities that don't leave much free time on your calendar. Being home all summer might feel a bit boring at times. Many college students say they drink to beat the doldrums and simply to have something to do.
Summer romance might be in the air
A lot of people say they gain self-confidence and feel more attractive after they have a few drinks. Maybe you're among those who like to go to clubs or parties during summer, but also like to loosen up a bit by having a drink or two to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable in dating situations.
If you run into trouble
While many college students on and off-campus say that drinking helps them feel relaxed, others have said that alcohol can slow reaction times and place people at risk for personal injury because dulled cognitive ability makes a person vulnerable.
If a South Carolina police officer pulls you over and suspects that you've been drinking, your summer fun may come to an abrupt halt. In fact, your whole college career may be at stake. Penalties for a DUI conviction can be quite severe. Spending time behind bars is likely not your idea of a great summer. It's critical that you know your rights and understand how to protect them.