Advice From the Feature Section

Q: I have a problem. I am the youngest person in my circle of friends. I am 20, and everyone else is between the ages of 23 and 27. Every weekend-or even nearly every night-my friends like to hang out and party. When I say party, I mean that they like to drink. My problem is that alcohol just doesn’t turn me on. I don’t like beer, I don’t like liquor, and I can’t stand the hangover the next day. To make matters worse, my 21st birthday is coming soon, and my friends have already started making plans to get me drunk on my special day. But guess what? I don’t want to drink; I want to actually remember the day I turn 21! What should I do?

-Too Sassy for the Sauce

Dear Too Sassy,

I do not think that the problem lies in your distaste for alcohol or your decision not to drink. The problem lies within the group you choose to keep in your company.

I think it is great that you admit that you do not like to drink. You would be surprised at just how many college student really cannot stand the taste (or effects) of alcohol, but are just too weak to say ‘no’ to the stuff. I think that it is a sure sign of maturity that you can admit what you do not like to do and choose not to take part in such activities.

I must ask why you do not have friends your own age. If it is a matter of finding people who are “as mature” as you are, then I can completely understand why you have chosen the friends you have. On the other hand, if it is a matter of what group of people welcomed you the most and the accepted you the fastest, then I have to question your choice in compadres.

I do not mean to dwell on the negative, but you should also think about other modes of behavior that you do not agree with. You can work on a larger scale (Do you and your friends have the same long-term goals?) or you can start small (Do my friends and I like the same movies? Do my friends and I have similar ideas of Friday night fun?). Simply remember that old saying: Birds of a feather flock together. Translation: People with similar interests and ideals tend to stick together.

Whatever you decide to do, I just want you to remember that you should never feel bad about not wanting to drink. Willingly consuming alcohol does not make a person more or less worthwhile. And if your friends are really your friends, then they will not pressure you to do something that you obviously do not want to do.

Q: I am a sophomore from Long Island. I still live at home, but I am at St. John’s for a majority of the time. My freshman year I adjusted to college life well and made a handful of friends on campus. This is my problem: My high school friends get offended when I spend more time with my new college friends. They all go to Nassau Community College and take bird courses like Bowling 101 and cannot understand why I can’t go out every night to goof off, for I take real college courses and I have a job. How do I continue to grow as a person and fully appreciate my college experience without neglecting my old chums?

-So Long, Long Island

Dear Long Island,

Does Nassau really offer a bowling class? What ever happened to a simple bowling club?

Anyway, do not let the sudden distance between you and your old friends worry you. I remember reading somewhere that the bonds one forms in college tend to be stronger and more likely to last than the (trivial) attachments one makes in high school. That is not to say that you should completely disregard your high school buddies; just do not limit yourself to merely that circle of friends.

You should also try integrating your two groups of pals. Invite your friends from SJU to Eisenhower Park for a picnic with your old friends or you get the two gangs together for a Red Storm basketball game.

I do not think that you should have to choose between your life at St. John’s and your Long Island existence; there has to be a happy medium somewhere.