Cost of going out every weekend



The cost of going out can affect your wallet financially and your mental well-being.

SAMANTHA GOODMAN, Opinion Columnist

College students drink. A lot. There’s no denying that statement. Students drink to ease the stress from classes, to be like their friends, or because they often see it as an integral part of their college experience. The impact of alcohol can not only take a toll on one’s physical, mental, and financial health but has lasting effects on those around them that students should be aware of.

Physical Health

Drinking alcohol can have physical effects on the body. We are all aware of the beer belly, but there are far more severe health effects.

The Liver

Your liver is a vital organ used to help break down and emit toxic substances from your body, including alcohol. Too much alcohol, however, can get in the way of this process. Drinking over long periods of time can create scarring caused by the inflammation in your liver and this scar tissue then destroys the liver, making it harder to remove the harmful substances from your body.

The Central Nervous System

Excessive alcohol intake can also lead to nervous system problems, such as slurred speech, poor coordination, and memory problems. Over time, chronic drinking can lead to more severe nervous system problems, such as damage in the frontal lobe. Your frontal lobe is an area in your brain that is responsible for emotional control, short-term memory, judgement, and other important roles. Chronic and severe alcohol abuse can also cause permanent brain damage. This can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder that affects memory.

Mental Health

While alcohol can have a physical effect on your brain, it can also toll your mental health and emotions. The more alcohol consumed, the more your brain is impacted. Many people drink to calm their nerves, get excited about an occasion, or improve their mood after a bad day. However, alcohol is an antidepressant. The mood change you feel when drinking alcohol is because alcohol has begun to suppress the part of the brain associated with inhibition. When this happens, it is likely that a person can behave impulsively, leading to actions they might not otherwise have taken.

Your Wallet

According to an article from BanYan, some studies estimate that the average amount of money students spend on alcohol per month is about $50, or up to $600 a year. Others place that figure at around $900 a year. The most aggressive estimate the article shares states that college students average upwards of $5,000 over their college career. That’s probably not a price you calculated into your financial planner and not one you necessarily need to be spending either.

You can still have alcohol, but consider drinking at home instead of at a restaurant or bar. The price for a drink can be anywhere from $4 to $12 depending on if it is a beer or martini. You can typically buy and make your own drinks for much less yourself.

Unfortunately, even for the students who choose not to drink, they are still impacted by the effects of alcohol.

Drunk Driving

Statistics published in January 2021 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimate that nearly 1,519 college students ages 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes. Is the buzz you receive from your night out really worth someone else’s life? Call an Uber, a friend, or walk. Many people think it makes them look weak or immature to not be able to drive home, however, your choice to try to look tough could take the life of someone else.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is not caused by alcohol, however, it can be a contributing factor. The Maryland Collaborative reports that nearly half of sexual assaults on college campuses involve a situation in which the perpetrator, the victim, or both were consuming alcohol (2016). Because of the impact alcohol has on the brain, alcohol may increase sexual arousal and disinhibition, or alter the personality characteristics of an individual to stimulate sexual arousal. One should never be left alone when drinking. Make sure to check in on others because the effects of one’s alcohol consumption can change someone’s life forever.

Alcohol can make or break an event or individual. It’s common at parties, events, and meals across the world and drunk by people of varying ages, but there comes a point when one has to decide if it is worth it. As a college student thinking about their personal health, financial wellness, and their impact on others around them, alcohol can play a major role. Make sure the role alcohol is playing in your life isn’t harming yourself or others.