Before going away to college, Rebekka’s parents had one final conversation about the matter of alcohol consumption with their daughter. Firstly, they strongly urged Rebekka to abstain from drinking on campus because of her age. Rebekka was nearly three years shy of the legal drinking age. Secondly, they discussed alcohol’s adverse effects on decision-making. Alcohol related accidents are a leading cause of death among young people. Finally, they discussed the harmful physiological effects of heavy alcohol consumption. Vital organs, including the brain, can be damaged by reckless drinking patterns. They reminded Rebekka that good students who drink heavily seldom remain good students. Rebekka’s parents presented the evidence on the risks of college-age drinking calmly, methodically, and factually. Rebekka listened attentively, asked some relevant questions, and ultimately agreed to abstain from drinking until reaching the age of twenty-one. In consideration for a pledge of abstinence, her mother and father agreed to purchase a reliable used car for her twenty-first birthday. As her parents were people of modest means, their offer was truly sacrificial and, in gratitude, Rebekka vowed to maintain her end of the agreement.
Rebekka fully expected drinking to be commonplace on campus, but the frequency of alcohol-themed parties and the widespread availability of alcohol to underage minors took her by surprise. Surprising, too, was the number of friends and acquaintances who engaged in frequent binge-drinking. In the classroom and in normal social settings, these students appeared sensible and level-headed, but she noted how behaviors and attitudes changed for the worse during these reckless bouts of drinking.
Recently, a few friends have been chiding Rebekka because she refused to drink alcohol during a block party. As critical thinkers, evaluate her friends’ comments as well as Rebekka’s responses. Which of her friends’ comments, if any, might be classified as instances of peer pressure? What do you think of Rebekka’s responses to her friends’ comments?
“I don’t understand you, Rebekka! Why waste a perfectly good party sipping Diet Pepsi? What is the purpose of living on campus if you aren’t going to loosen up and have some fun? My God, why didn’t you stay home and take classes at the community college? You are missing the best of the college experience!” --Chrystal
“I’ll bet you are really, really religious! Is this why you don’t drink?” --Leslie
“I promised my parents that I would not drink until I was twenty-one. A promise is a promise and, besides, by keeping my word, Mom and Dad have promised to buy me a car.” --Rebekka
“If you had an occasional drink, who would know? It isn’t like dear old Mommy and Daddy are here to stop you from having a bit of fun!” --Chrystal
“Where is it written that a person has to drink to have fun? And how can waking up with a hangover be so jolly?” --Rebekka
“After a week of classes and study, alcohol helps me unwind. A few drinks makes the stress go away. I think I am a better student because I know how to blow off steam. You will never know how good a few drinks can make you feel until you give it a try!” --Matthew
“My father bought me a brand new car for my sixteenth birthday and I didn’t have to make any ridiculous promises. Besides, I can make up my own mind about drinking.” --Chrystal
“I have made up my mind and I simply do not want to drink! Can you guys give me a break and stop the incessant nagging?” --Rebekka
“Have it your way! The next time we go to a party, you can trot off to vacation Bible school and make bookmarks or finger-paint with the other good little boys and girls!” --Leslie