During my sophomore year of high school, my athletic director invited me to attend a conference focused on how alcohol and drugs affect student athletes’ performances. The presentation was led by John Underwood, the director of the American Athletic Institute.
I saw how greatly alcohol negatively impacted the body, especially the body of an athlete. And one fact has remained with me ever since then. “Approximately 14 days of training effect is lost after only one night of drinking.” Underwood reiterated that not only does this loss affect the person drinking but it also affects the team as a whole.
Underwood also added this: “Remember when you are partying, that somewhere, someone is training…and when you meet them, they will beat you.”
This is not only applicable to sports, but to life in general and reconfirmed my already strong feelings about alcohol. It was not something that I wanted to be around if I wanted to perform at my highest level. Not only that, but I know that I do not need alcohol to have fun.
When I first made my decision to come to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a school with a well-known reputation for alcohol and partying, I knew that I was going to be immersed in a culture that I did not fully appreciate or understand.
Don’t get me wrong though, I have nothing against drinking, some of my best friends today drink and that is totally cool, it’s their choice. But drinking is not something I find necessary in my own life or really need to have fun.
This semester in J202 we were tasked with choosing a topic related to UW and working on different stories connected to it all semester. It was a no-brainer for me to look into how the alcohol culture on campus affects those who choose not to drink. Personally, I don’t know many people that choose not to drink on campus, and sometimes it does make me feel like I’m the only one who isn’t drinking. Throughout this project, I learned that I am not alone and there are in fact others on this campus who have made the decision not to drink as well.
The website I created captures these stories and gives insight on the alcohol culture at UW-Madison and why students may choose to refrain from drinking on campus.