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Discernment in Drinking

College can be a time for people to engage in drinking behaviors. Though the activity of drinking may seem adventurous every now and then, there are times when the adventure is no longer a “fun” weekend outing. 

When entering Point Loma Nazarene University, students are required to sign an agreement form that lists the school’s standards to what is acceptable. This includes drinking. When caught drinking as a student by Public Safety, the RA or your roommates, there are consequences for students who go against the contract. These consequences can include a three-week growth plan, or students could be asked to leave PLNU. 

“Because drinking is such a taboo topic, people are scared to talk about it,” says sophomore and psychology major Breanna Seshun. “When things are not openly discussed, it can create an atmosphere of shame and condemnation which can make it terribly hard for students who want help in these situations.” 

An even more taboo and scary subject to students is that PLNU knows about the drinking that takes place on campus. 

“I know [students drink], it’s not a surprise to anyone here,” says dean of students Jake Gilberston when asked about his knowledge of students who drink at PLNU. “When you have 3,000 undergraduate students, ages 18 to 25, some of them are going to choose not to follow the expectations that have been laid out for them… Your relationship with alcohol requires discernment, and you can begin to learn that while you are here at PLNU.” 

It is recorded by alcohol.org that of the 1,825 people out of the 88,000 people who die from excessive alcohol consumption every year are young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. 

“I think this is a good time to exercise that ‘no’ muscle to say, I’m going to choose not to drink during these times,” Gilbertson says. “And there are also times when I can use discernment. There’s Christmas break where I’m not held to the expectations that Point Loma has. There’s summer break where I am not held to the expectations of being a Point Loma student if I am not enrolled in classes. During those seasons, maybe those are good opportunities to use discernment and think through some of those things, make different choices.”

A season of discernment that approaches Point Loma students is spring break. Seshun advises to be responsible. 

“Be mindful of your surroundings,” Seshun says. “Make sure you fully trust the people you are with. Know your limits. I think it would be important to go into the night already deciding what you want the outcome of your night to be. Ask others to help keep you accountable. Look out for others.” 

At PLNU*:

40.5% of students consumed alcohol within the last 30 days. 

Of those who drank alcohol: 

33.3% reported doing something they later regretted

24.1% forgot where they were or what they did

14% had unprotected sex 

9.2% physically injured themselves

*According to an American College Health Association survey of 750 PLNU students taken in 2017.

Written By: Kylie Miller