A woman sits on the bar stool next to him,
Sipping on a glass of Jim Beam whiskey and Sprite,
Smelling sweet like bittersweet honeysuckles
From that bush outside her childhood church.
A Marlboro slate cigarette in her mouth
That he lights with a match from her purse,
Smelling like a mini campfire.
She breathes in the menthol,
A bitterness like burnt mint leaves
Meant to garnish an extravagant meal
That she burnt in the kitchen
When she got distracted by him.
She breathes out a cloud of smoke
That rolls out like a storm
Smelling of nostalgia.
He remembers when she first tried one
At a bonfire when she was wine drunk and young.
She was angry, going to the bottle for numbness
After a fight with her mother.
She bummed a cigarette off him
And had to be taught how to smoke it.
She couldn’t even light it by herself
Without burning her fingers.
She breathed it in, a knot tight in her throat,
A nicotine high making the world spin,
A turntable of numbness from the feeling,
Breathing out apathy with no regret.
Now she smiles at him with dark red lips as if painted with blood,
A mischievous sparkle in her eyes like the diamonds on her left hand.
She orders a strawberry martini as he orders another pitcher of beer.
Revisiting the past in a bar both of them know well. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
She grabs his hand and drags him after her,
Her long dress spinning to the music,
Daisies spun in the hand of a flower girl.
She sings all while he watches her.
She’s still ferociously adorable,
Even when she tries to be an adult.
She can’t hide it around him,
Giggling as they dance
Like they did on their wedding day.
Just a sip—
That’s how the addiction began.
They said it’d fix everything,
An elixir for my inhibitions.
I was passed an overflowing glass of something
And I eagerly downed this liquid god
To atone for the sin
Of being boring.
Happy medium? Too mundane.
I’m only happy living by extremes
And now my happiness is attached to
An extreme buzz
With lows just as intense.
Maybe it was the regular blackouts
Or the sleazy boys who got too friendly
Or that time I vomited for two hours
While the world was spinning like that toilet bowl—
But I slowly realized my judgment had been flushed away
Long before my nausea.
As I walked away from the glamorous lifestyle
Of underage drinking,
Once-friendly chatter faded
And soon the loudest thing around
Was my own footsteps.
In their own coded dialect
They screamed to me—
Sobriety might be boring
But if it keeps you alive,
It’s worth it.
I didn’t argue—
Now I just keep myself busy.
As I’m typing this, I have less than 50 days until graduation. I’ve been reflecting on my time here at Radford University and noticing many things have changed since that first year. College is a time of extreme growth and experiencing as much as possible, so no one leaves the same person they came in as.
When I was in high school, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing wet hair to school. Now, it makes an almost daily appearance. Along with rocking wet hair, my sense of fashion has sort of devolved. Although I lived on campus as a freshman, I would still get up no less than an hour before my class and make myself look presentable by wearing nice jeans and just trying to look human as possible. Nowadays, however, it’s nothing to throw on leggings and a big hoodie (with no bra, mind you) and run to class just minutes after awaking from my slumber.
Going out has also become much easier. As a freshman, my suite-mates and I would spend hours doing our hair and makeup and picking out outfits. We often wore high heels and short skirts out.
Now, I dress for comfort, not for looks. If I go out to a party in the winter, I’m bundling up. I once would freeze the most unmentionable parts of my body just to look cute. Now, I’ll throw on some leggings and a sweater and a quick face of makeup and head out the door.
High heels very rarely make an appearance these days.
My sense of humor
As a freshman, being late to class was no laughing matter. Doing poorly on a test was completely unacceptable and I spent many nights crying into my homework. Now, when I walk into class lateI just smile at the professor and say, “sorry.” I’ve also trained myself to just laugh when I don’t get the test score I wanted, as opposed to crying about it. In college, you experience a lot of disappointment, and if you can’t laugh at it from time to time, you’ll fall apart.
After an embarrassing weekend of shenanigans, as a freshman I would spend all week awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the people I encountered throughout the weekend. Now, I just laugh at myself and move on. Sometimes that’s much easier than wallowing in self-pity.
My study habits
One of the biggest accomplishments I’ve reached as a senior is finally learning how to study for my tests. It’s only taken roughly 17 years of schooling for me to finally find a way to study that actually resonates in my mind.
As a freshman, I would use hundreds of index cards and painstakingly mark each one with it’s appropriate definition or explanation. Now, I create my own study guides out of my notes. Not only does this save a lot of time, it also saves paper and my fingers from those sharp edges on note cards.
My sleep schedule
This one is probably very obvious. College students don’t get nearly enough sleep, and sometimes it’s worth it. Between long weeknights spent in the library and long weekends with no rest, we have some of the worst sleep schedules on the planet.
As a freshman, I tried my best to get those 8 hours of sleep. Now, if I get more than 5 hours of sleep, it’s a good day. Running on little sleep can be exhausting but it’s rewarding once you realized that less sleep either means better grades or nights full of fun with your best friends.
Formalities become casualties by the time you’re a senior. What were once delicately put together emails with perfect punctuation are now brief sentences with little to no punctuation sent to my professor.
Having the title “professor” or “doctor” is intimidating at first, so you often feel like you have to be very formal when addressing your professors. But by your fourth or fifth year, you realize your professors are just people. It’s especially easy if your professor is younger or a graduate student. Even older professors who have been teaching for decades are really just people going to work, and will often work with you in ways you never thought possible.
One professor I had called me into her office one day over an issue I had with a project. I knew I was in trouble, as I had failed to make it to an important meeting. Although my professor was visibly irritated with me, she really just wanted to help me.
Your professors want what’s best for you. Although some professors seem to love to fail students, most of the time they want to be your friend and want to help you understand what you’re studying.
When I first came to school, I had never done any kind of drugs and I had only been drunk once, and I went into college not expecting that to change. I also came in as a Christian and am leaving as an Agnostic. Being sober and religious was the center of every decision I made coming into college. Now, I know that just because there are rules against something doesn’t make it bad.
Having fun with your friends isn’t a bad thing, even if it’s under the influence of alcohol. My religious beliefs once made me feel that to enjoy and partake in all the things around me was vain. I felt guilty going out and drinking cheap beer at parties, even though I wasn’t hurting myself or anyone around me. Now, that I’ve experienced the “Cannabis Culture” of Colorado, and found that I have a love for beer, I realize that enjoying these things isn’t bad. To live life wishing you had tried new things and regretting not living your life to the fullest, however, is bad.
College can be scary at times, but you grow so much in such a short amount of time. Along with what you learn in lectures and labs, you gain so much life experience that teaches you valuable lessons that can’t be found anywhere else. Enjoy and absorb every moment, but know you’re going to survive and you’ll be better for it.
After a crazy night of drinking, you may wake up with a headache and regret. While we can’t help with your poor decision making, we can help with you body’s health. A hangover is the psychological and physiological effects suffered after the consumption of too much alcohol.
I have spent most of this semester meeting new people, most of whom I’ve been lucky enough to befriend. I’ve always thought this initial phase, the time when acquaintanceship starts to deepen into something more real and relaxed, is one of the best times of any friendship — but it comes with a lot of information exchange. Where are you from? What do you do? How many siblings do you have?
Well guys, we’re in the home stretch. One more week to go and then the dreaded finals. I hope you’ve had as much fun watching the Time Wasters every week as I’ve had making them. This will be the last installment of the Wasters of the year and unless one of my fantastic writers picks it up in the fall, the last one ever. I’m leaving my section in the very capable hands of my second in command, Brandon Leatherland, who will also be taking the reigns of Radcentric. I wish you all best and luck on your exams–make sure you come back in the fall for more exciting articles, reviews and exclusive content that will rock your socks off. Cheers. Continue reading Weekly Time Wasters: Cybersex and other strange things→
If you were one to participate in the Quadfest festivities this past weekend, you probably suffered from one of two things – a hangover or citation. The cops were in rare form this past weekend for the anticipation of the infamous Quadfest. It turned out to be nothing short of an absurd amount of cops and zero fun. However, if you were able to find your own safe fun at a close friend’s house you might currently be suffering from a hangover, which is never any fun. Continue reading Kicking the hangover→
As summer approaches, college students start chomping at their proverbial bit, ready to break free from the confines of spring semester. While a bit of cutting loose does everyone good from time to time, there are some things you should remember so that summer fun doesn’t become summer regret soon after. Continue reading Summer safety tips→
I will be plain: I don’t like Quadfest. People come from all over Virginia to party in our little college town for a weekend and then leave. In their wake, they leave behind broken windows, damaged property, burned dumpsters and a soiled reputation. Those who are willing (or gullible) enough to open their houses to social activities find their homes quickly flooded by people they don’t know and soon after they are answering a knock on the door from the cops.
I’m not against partying and having a good time, but what irks me about Quadfest is that the point isn’t inter-collegiate interaction or camaraderie, but a school versus school drinking match. Inevitably this leads to masses of out-of-town kids wandering our streets drunk out of their minds. The police write hundreds of tickets, a lot of people spend the night in the drunk tank and the pictures of the aftermath make Radford University look horrible. Continue reading Quadfest: Nothing but trouble→
We, as teenagers and young adults, think we’re invincible. This is apparent in the number of teenagers and young adults who get behind the wheel of a car after a long night of drinking. Most of us don’t think anything of it. To some, it’s an every once in a while thing; to others, it’s a weekly occurrence. Continue reading Above the ignorance→
Starting college, adjusting to a new living situation, peer group and advanced classes can be a stressful time. With a strong desire to “fit in,” students may opt to join Greek Life , an athletic team or a club at their school. However, the initiation process for many of these groups often only adds to the stress of navigating college. In recent years, disturbing news stories have highlighted the increasingly violent, aggressive, and even deadly hazing tactics some groups use. Continue reading The dangers of hazing→
Many college students are intimately familiar with the suffering that comes after a night of drinking. When it happens, all you’re really interested in is waiting for it to pass (or maybe forswearing such behavior forever, or at least until next weekend). But if you’ve ever wondered in more sober moments about the science behind a hangover, we here at Whim have got your back. Continue reading The biology of a hangover→
In 1991, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a survey that showed 43% of college students have a problem with binge drinking. They’ve conducted national surveys in the years since then and annually compile them with the years before to see if the number students that have this problem have increased of decreased.
Many colleges across the United States, including Radford University, are declaring themselves “dry campuses,” meaning that no one on campus may have alcohol. The rules differ slightly from school to school, but the basic idea is the same. Decision makers aim to cut down the growing problem of binge drinking at college. While their ideas are admirable, the way that this legislation is implemented on RU’s campus leaves too much gray area and too many loopholes for students to not question it.
The alcohol policy on RU’s campus is strictly hammered into students’ heads throughout the year. Along with alcohol education, RA programs and the gossip that so easily flies across campus like dead fall leaves, students are well aware of the repercussions of consuming alcohol. If you get caught drinking, you get a strike. Three strikes means you get kicked out of school.
What most people fail to realize is that even if you’re not drinking you can be charged with “accessory,” which means you were aware that there was underage drinking going on and you didn’t report it. Walking by a frat house with 50 drunken freshmen hanging off the porch one night? Accessory. Your roommate has friends over on the weekend and they pull out a bottle to take shots? Also accessory.
These regulations crisscross back and forth, blurring the lines of Virginia laws and university conduct. A huge part of college is about building strong peer relationships that last for the rest of your life, right? RU encourages this positive behavior. But the second one of your good friends sips from a Solo cup, you’re supposed to turn them in and permanently scar their record? Seems a little unrealistic to me.
If your roommate chooses to bring alcohol into the room and an RA discovers it, you can both get in trouble. There’s no way to prove whose alcohol it is, so even if you choose not to drink and would rather spend your Friday nights watching movies or studying, you can get in trouble for this. RUPD encourages students to report the alcohol to an RA. By doing this, you keep yourself out of trouble. However, you have to live in that room for the rest of the year. Roommate issues (and we’ve all been there) are probably categorized as one of the least fun parts of college. Do you think your roommate will like and respect you when you’ve just directly caused them to receive a conduct charge? Probably not.
The dilemma is this: RU’s policy tells students that we must report any alcohol consumption, or else we face charges on our own records. However, the AlcoholEDU test that students are required to complete in order to register for classes details very specifically the ways in which a person can take care of someone with alcohol poisoning. Isn’t it more responsible to make sure your friends are being taken care of (even when they choose to drink) than to leave them at a party by themselves? Police officers routinely patrol the streets at night, but they don’t walk down the sidewalks banging on every door that has loud music and people scattered outside. If RU’s policy is to report any and all underage drinking, why not go door-to-door?
This issue is a direct parallel to the abstinence vs. safe sex debate. High schools that preach abstinence as the best policy don’t prepare their students for reality, or for safe sex. By preaching abstinence, but also the proper use of contraceptives, students are better equipped to deal with real-life situations. When RU preaches “dry campus” and requires students to report any drinking activities, it’s not preparing students for reality at all. If RU were to better emphasize the ways to consume alcohol safely, (know your limits, travel in groups and pour your own drinks) then students would be better prepared for university life.
Senior Alex Vincent had to attend AA meetings all summer after his parents realized his grades had dropped drastically. They thought he was partying too much and had him go to the meetings as a preventative measure. He said he didn’t think he had an alcohol problem, but the meetings helped open his eyes to the seriousness and danger of alcoholism.
“I liked those meetings,” Vincent said. “Those people tell the truth, and it was really eye opening for me. It made [me] realize I want to finish school and not drink too much.”
Drinking on college campuses is an issue that has been discussed and debated by universities all over the country. Most universities focus on safety and alcohol awareness to reduce the chances of death from alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related deaths by making the information available to students about the dangers of drinking, but alcoholism can be overlooked.
Brandi Brown, a dining services manager for three years, said she has worked with employees who have had issues with alcohol.
“When you start to show up late to work, or miss work or show up to work drunk, then you have a problem,” Brown said. “We don’t care what you do off the clock, but when it starts affecting what you do on the clock, then it’s a problem. We know students party, but if it’s affecting them working, we can’t allow that and technically it’s not our place, but usually if it gets that far, they need help.”
A recent Harvard University study found that 6% of college students meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. Alcoholism is defined by alcoholism-and-drug-addiction-help.com as a condition in which a dependence on alcohol harms a person’s health, social functioning or family life.
Head of New Student Programs, Michael Richardson, faces the issue of alcoholism in students on a regular basis. He said the university is always trying to think of new ways to help students who face issues like addiction and substance dependence.
“The threat of alcoholism in college students is at an all-time high,” Richardson said. “Countless students have no idea they have an alcohol problem and think they are just being a college kid and having fun. It is a never-ending concern for Radford University.”
Freshman Shawn Longwood said he drinks to get drunk often and has blacked out several times, which can both be signs of alcoholism.
“I’m not worried about being an alcoholic,” he said. “I’m just partying, man. I mean, I’m in college at Radford. I’m just trying to have fun.”
In recent years, Radford University has made an effort to educate students on the dangers of underage and binge drinking. The death of Radford University student Sam Mason due to alcohol poisoning in 2010 helped raise awareness and made the dangers real for many students. Programs have been set up so students will be more aware. In 2009, the university implemented the alcohol.edu program, where students take a short online class about alcohol awareness and they have to pass the class before they can register for classes. If students get a drug or alcohol charge at RU, they are also required to take an alcohol/substance abuse class, and they have the option of individual counseling as well. If a student feels they need counseling, the Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) office has counselors available for help and support.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to be a more diligent student by using my Saturday afternoons to catch up on work. Unfortunately, Radford University doesn’t feel that it’s necessary to open many of its academic buildings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Young Hall, for instance, is open from 6-10 p.m. on Saturdays, and then it opens for 24 hours a day at 10 p.m. Sunday night and stays open through Friday night. So when I was looking to get some work done at 2 p.m., the Young lab was a no-go.
The computer lab in Whitt Hall is also inconveniently unavailable on Saturdays, and this lab is the only lab that has the software necessary for many business and economics majors to get their work done. My question is, what message do these policies send to RU students?
I feel like not having these buildings available is like telling the students that they should procrastinate. It’s almost like saying, “All you’re doing is recovering from last night, drinking and partying today, so it isn’t worth the money or effort to keep these buildings open.”
I think the university should cater more to the academically diligent students than to those who choose to procrastinate. Why can I do my work at 4 a.m. on Monday morning but not at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon? I feel like it’s a really backward way of thinking and that this type of thinking is what is going to keep RU’s reputation from improving.
I think the university should be doing everything it can to make it easier and more convenient for students to study and work; after all, that is why we’re here. I honestly don’t think it would hurt anyone to keep these buildings open, but I do think it is hurting students by keeping them closed.
Yes, we could go to the library, but the library computers get crowded very easily, they don’t always have the necessary computer software and resources, and sometimes the library is a difficult place to concentrate.
RU spent a lot of money renovating Young Hall, fitting it with the latest and most technologically advanced amenities and designing multiple study areas throughout the building for students to utilize, and yet they are completely unavailable during the weekend except when everyone is cramming for finals at the end of each semester. Again, this is totally sending the wrong message. Our professors expect us to study and review for their tests weeks in advance, and many of us have plenty of free time on the weekends, but the areas that are most conducive to studying on campus are unavailable to us.
Even the four hours that Young Hall is open are very inconvenient. Great, right when I’m trying to have dinner and catch up with my friends, that’s exactly when I want to be studying.
I think that if these buildings were open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons they would get used a lot more on weekends than they currently do, and I feel that the university would be supporting the reason we’re all here instead of the depth of their pockets.
If you’ve been following the news or listening to the buzz around campus, you know that people have been passing away around the area. Sophomore Sam Mason passed away after a night of drinking at a fraternity house on lightside. The store manager of Papa John’s died last Thursday morning after someone shot him in the head. In the past two weeks, four Radford residents died well before their time was up.
But Radford isn’t the only one. A little over a year ago, neighboring Virginia Tech lost one of their own as well. Morgan Harrington disappeared after attending a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, VA and was found dead three months later.
Around this time of year, the number of tragedies seem to be climbing significantly. But what makes these incidents even more tragic is that almost all of them could have been prevented. We don’t want any of these instances to be forgotten or grouped together to make them seem less significant. What we want is for people to treat these recent events like cautionary tales and learn from them.
When you’re going out this Halloween weekend, please do so with caution. Know your limits, and don’t test them. Bring or pour your own drinks and never let anybody else hold yours. If you set your cup down for any reason, make sure to get a new drink; even if the keg is almost tapped, it’s not worth the risk of someone drugging you.
Bad things happen to good people, and we understand that. You can’t always control what is going to happen to you, but you can control what environments you put yourself in and how you control your state of being. Use common sense when going to unfamiliar areas. Always travel in groups and never let one of your friends run off with a stranger. And when something feels off, listen to your gut and get yourself out of the situation, even if it means calling it an early night.
We would also like to add that not all girls have to dress like complete prostitutes. There are some semi-modest costumes that you can make sexy while still covering up. Covering up is another way to stay safe. If you are stumbling around, looking incoherent and showing yourself off, people will be more likely to take advantage of you. This goes for guys too; if you are incoherently drunk, people are more likely to take advantage of your state of mind.
We’re not telling you that you can’t go out and have a good time this Halloween. We’re just reminding you that there’s a clear line between being in control of a situation and putting yourself in danger. Be in control of your environment, and don’t put yourself in compromising positions. Go out and have a good time, but don’t drink to the point where alcohol will cloud your judgment of what’s right and what’s not. We don’t want to see any more tragedies in the news.
Being a student here at Radford, this is something you may know all too well, or maybe you don’t drink. Either way, if you sit down and think about it, there are lots of different ways that people like to get drunk when they go to parties. There are so many different creative ways to get drunk that we even make various competitions out of it. Here are some of the things you can expect to see at a Radford party, or really any party.
Keg stands are a very popular thing to do at Radford parties, and they’re one of the things that people compete over to see who can get the best time. In a keg stand, two people lift you into the air by your feet while you hang on to the keg, and one person pumps the keg and puts the tap into your mouth. You drink for as long as you can, and everyone around counts the seconds that it takes. Wimpy keg stands are usually about five to 15 seconds long. Decent keg stands are about 20-40 seconds long, and really good keg stands are anything longer than that. Doing a kegstand will get you drunk pretty quickly.
Beer Bongs are also really popular at Radford parties. A beer bong is a funnel with a plastic tube attached to the bottom. You fill it up by pouring a full can or cup of beer into it, and then you drink from the plastic tube at the end of the funnel. Because air is able to pass through both sides of the beer bong, the beer rushes down your throat really quickly, and taking beer bongs all night at a party is another really quick and easy way to get drunk. People make competitions out of it by seeing who can drink a beer bong faster. What’s really sad is that if you think about the science behind a beer bong, somebody smart had to figure that out.
There are many different popular card games you’ll see at parties that involve drinking. Of all these games however, kings is the most popular. The rules for kings are probably complicated to figure out when you play for the first time, but you learn pretty quickly. What you do is, you put out the entire deck of cards in a circle, and then one by one each person turns over a card. Every card ends up forcing somebody to drink in a different way, and you play until all 52 cards have been turned over. After having played a game of kings, you’re guaranteed to be pretty drunk.
Quarters is a game that involves liquor. You play against a single opponent who sits across from you at a table. The two opponents put a shot glass in the middle of the table and fill it with any kind of liquor. Then you take a quarter and attempt to bounce it off your side of the table and into the shot glass. If you make it in, your opponent has to drink the shot of liquor, and if your oppent makes it in, you have to drink the shot of liquor. This is a game that can get you drunk quickly if your opponent is really good at getting the quarter in, but it’s pretty tricky to do.
So in a way, it’s almost like drinking has become so popular for college students that we’ve made an art out of it. So practice bouncing quarters, or taking a bong, and you’ll be set when the weekends roll around. Don’t get too good though, because your liver will not be happy with you. When it comes to drinking responsibly however, there are some people who just couldn’t care less. There are many more things you can expect to see at parties. Beer Pong, Flip Cup, Jello Shots, and more. It’s important to know your limits though, because too much alcohol can get get kicked out of school.