School is starting at many college campuses across the nation! That means buying books, moving into dorms and apartments, and going to classes for the first time this semester. School starting also means the beginning of what I like to call the My Parent’s Aren’t Here Syndrome (MPAHS).
The My Parent’s Aren’t Here Syndrome occurs mostly with freshman (although some people never grow out of it) and can lead to costly consequences. What happens with MPAHS is that students realize that they are on their own for the first time and go crazy. There is suddenly no curfew, no explanations, new friends, and many parties to go to. So what ends up happening is that poor choices are made, some of which haunt some students for years. It isn’t that uncommon for people’s very first arrests to occur during their first semester and even first few days at school.
Drinking is usually the culprit of most negative consequences. You might think I’m being a teetotaler prude (I enjoy the drink on occasion), but I’m just trying to point out some basic facts. If you are underage and caught with alcohol at the very least you will be issued a ticket. If you are unruly you might be arrested. Most states charge fines, and if you are caught on campus or arrested you may suffer the loss of scholarships.
DUI’s are even more devastating. Not only may you lose out on hard earned scholarships, but the cost of getting a DUI is very expensive. In my state it costs at minimum $5,000.00 and 30 days mandatory in jail for the first offense (and that’s before paying for the lawyer)! That means not only will you lose a large chunk of change, but you will also end up withdrawing for the current semester, or if you’re lucky, missing the next semester. That doesn’t even include the fact that employers will see this on your record forever. You may be able to get hired with just one DUI on record (because employers know that people make mistakes, especially when they are young), but more than one DUI can ruin your career before you even start it. That’s not to mention that drinking can be very expensive (especially when you’re under 21).
Then there is the reality that 68% of sexual aggression (anything from fondling to rape) involves alcohol being consumed by a male attacker (Journal of Sex Education and Therapy). Girls you don’t want to put yourself in risky positions where you can be taken advantage of, and boys you don’t want to misinterpret a girl’s signals and become someone who sexually attacked another person. This can lead to horrible emotional problems that will interfere with your school work (and will end up costing you a bunch of money in retaking courses and therapy costs), and possibly the high cost of good legal representation.
Illegal drugs can also cause severe problems for you. Addiction is a possibility for many illegal drugs (that alone can derail a promising future). Plus what employer wants to hire someone with a drug arrest on their criminal record? Aldo being arrested for illegal drugs can make you ineligible for financial aid! Is getting high really worth it? I don’t think so.
Other stupid mistakes include not paying for speeding and parking tickets. Guess what? You’re license can be suspended if you do this and that is even more expensive than just paying the ticket. If your city has light rail, monorail, or subways just pay the fair. The fair is less expensive than the ticket you receive for not paying the fair.
Generally speaking if something is illegal, don’t do it! You may think it is all fun and games, but eventually there will be consequences. If you haven’t gotten caught yet then consider yourself lucky and be smart enough to stop the behavior that can lead to harsh consequences.