College life is a very excited and highly anticipated time in a young adult’s life. For many it is the first time they get to experience independence. That is the reason that many of them choose to go to school far from home. College is a place for young adults to discover who they are outside of their parent’s shadow. It is an institution for them gains knowledge and skills that will help them gain employment and a career. Post-secondary education has also transformed into a place of wild experimentation. Drug and alcohol use is common place in today’s society. Many have simply accepted that it is just the nature of the beast and a rite of passage for young adults. The problem with this acceptance is that more and more young adults are entering post-secondary schools with a propensity for addiction; if they are not addicted before entering. What can be even dangerous is the fact that college students are able to hide their addictions because of the ‘nature of the beast’ imagery. College students across the entire nation are masking their addictions with the ‘college lifestyle’ mantra and Indiana students are at an equal risk.

The College Routine

Today’s college students are under more stress than any other generation before them. The pressure to compete and perform at optimum levels is immense. College students spend several hours a day in a classroom learning before they retreat to the library to review those notes. During these intense weekly practices students regularly consume study drugs to keep up with the material. Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse are passed around from student to student like candy. It has become so common that the uncommon is not taking the drugs. College students stand by the old saying of “work hard, play hard”. At the end of the week these students, like clockwork, drown out their studies with excessive alcohol consumption. During finals or exam weeks the study supplements increase and so does the partying. At most parties it is common place to see cocaine going around as is the red solo cups. This is followed by a very slow and late Sunday morning wake up. The day of rest has turned into a day of recuperation as students struggle to remember the events of the previous nights while curled around the white porcelain of a toilet. When students analyze their behaviors most simply excuse it because they are in college.

Indiana Universities

Indiana students are not exempt to these actions. Each college is different from the next, but the basis of post-secondary education and the students are the same. All students rebel at one time or another, but for most it is during the college years. Those four years at University are a time to be “young and dumb”, but research shows that college students should be more careful with their bodies than previously assumed. Science has proven that our brains are not fully developed until we are twenty-five; therefore, the actions we take in college could very well have long term effects. Indiana currently ranks among the top fifty or higher in alcohol and drug use reports compared to other college campuses. This information is good for Indiana students and their parents, but it does not mean that students are not masking their addictions with the “I’m a college student” mentality. Parents should frequently check in on their college student children. College years are a time for experimentation, but more importantly they are a time for significant development. Parents who are more involved in their child’s lives during their college years reduce the likelihood of having children falling victim to addiction while in college.

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