Alcohol alone won’t necessarily be a major detriment to your grades in college. Making it a part of your lifestyle will though. For this blog post, I chose to reference peer reviewed academic journals and reflect on the information they provide. Don’t be overwhelmed or scared off by this. I just wanted to make sure my data was accurate.
First Year College Students
A 2015 study by Gary Liguori and Barb Lonbaken provides an analysis of drinking behaviors, and their corresponding consequences, of first year college students. During the semester in which the study was conducted, 53% of the students, both male and female, reported at least one case of heavy episodic drinking (HED). Even though freshman reported the lowest mean HED cases and total number of drinks, the impact experienced by them is still clear. Compared to their non-drinking peers, first-year male college students were more than two times more likely to not be enrolled their second year. Drinking in college, and the activities associated with it, definitely have an impact on student’s grades.
Drinking and Academic Performance
Another study, done in 2009, provides some insight into some academic problems associated with college drinking. The authors explain why their is such little scientific data on this subject though. The majority of undergraduate college students are under 21 and it is therefore both illegal and unethical to have them participate in studies. Research with adults has shown decreased memory retention, intellectual performance, and learning capabilities while under the influence. These affects do not last long after alcohol is flushed out of your body. Even though there are research barriers, useful data on college drinking has been obtained using surveys. An inverse relationship exists between excessive drinking and self-reported grade point average. The more you drink, the more your grades will plummet. Nonetheless, other studies mentioned in the article, such as one done at the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that drinking has little to no affect on college GPA. The picture above reflects this to some extent. You can still excel in college even if you drink occasionally. It is only when you exceed a certain threshold that your academic performance is at risk.
It Isn’t Just the Alcohol
From both of the academic papers I read for this post, I learned that the problem stems more from the environment most students are in when they get drunk rather than the alcohol itself. Late nights out partying coupled with early mornings for class leave students with no time to sleep. The combination of feeling sick from a hangover and just being groggy from lack of sleep is what often causes students to miss class and perform poorly on exams. As I pointed out in my first blog post, it all boils down to drinking responsibly. Whether or not underage students should have such easy, unrestricted access to alcohol is a whole other issue. If your grades are suffering, especially if you’re in your first year, you need to do more than just reevaluate the amount of alcohol you consume. You need to make a major change in your lifestyle. Yes, drinking is hurting your grades; however, this only rings true if the term “drinking” encompasses activities such as staying up late and losing sleep. The link between academic inadequacy and excessive drinking is dependent on more than just the alcohol itself.
*Source for Featured Image on Cover