The negative impact of excessive drinking and substance use on one’s physical health is well documented. What is often overlooked is the ways in which substance use can interfere with academic engagement, which sometimes can be subtler, but also very serious.
For most students, a common misperception is that the college experience includes frequent alcohol parties, most college students use marijuana and other illegal drugs, and many use prescription drugs recreationally.
As a recent college graduate, I can attest to how grateful I feel to have gotten an early start to my career in prevention. I have gained new skills that I will take with me through graduate school and my career, met new friends and colleagues, and had the opportunity to travel and learn in new places.
The start of this academic year represents a milestone of sorts for me. I began as a first-year student at the University of Washington (UW) in September 1987; now, 30 years later, I have the honor of working in both a research capacity and a student life capacity at the very campus that shaped my professional identity.
For many students, college marks a time in life where they have a new sense of freedom. They transition into a stage of interdependence where they are largely responsible for daily decisions that will affect their lives now and in the future. This time allows for new experiences, new friends, and new opportunities.