How my uni lifestyle has ruined every part of me

May 04, 2015
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My father likes to constantly remind me that I’m at uni to get a degree. I don’t know if he’s been stalking too many of my tagged photos on Facebook, or if it was the fact that I was drunk at 11am last time he came to visit, but something must have sent off a few alarm bells.

I’ve spent the last two years caught up in a whirlwind of boozy fun and now, in my third year, my friends and I are finally starting to see the effects. Our fine motor skills ain’t what they used to be, we can drink a whole bottle of wine without really feeling drunk, and worst of all, we’re losing our freakin’ memory. The choices we’ve made over the last few years are slowly starting to ruin us, one vodka tonic at a time.

My brain

I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve walked into my room and completely forgotten why I’m there. And it’s not like the good old days when my memory will come flooding back three seconds later. The thought is actually gone forever.

A recent study showed that that one of the areas of the brain affected most by overconsumption of alcohol is your hippocampus, which controls memory and learning functions. The study’s lead author, Dr Mary-Louise Risher, says that our brains “continue to mature and refine all the way into the mid-20s”, meaning we’re seriously disturbing our grey matter during its most crucial stage.

And we’re not only drinking with an underdeveloped brain, we’re also potentially restricting blood flow to certain regions. We’re depriving our brains of blood, people! If this isn’t reason enough to go on a detox, I don’t know what is.

My reputation

What kind of drunk are you? Do you cry a lot, or do you make best friends with the girl in the toilet cubicle next to you? Maybe you get a little touchy feely. Or perhaps you’re one of those people that starts dropping philosophical life advice on passersby. I recently found out what kind of drunk I was and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.

“You were hilarious last night.”

“Me? I wasn’t even that drunk.”

“Yes you were. You were on all fours on the dance floor, humping everyone like a dog.”

It’s moments like these you need to take a step back and think to yourself, “Is this really how I want people to see me?”

My decision-making skills

Texting a sassy message to your ex, kicking a metal pole, and having unprotected sex. These are things we’ve all fallen victim to when our old friend “the drunken haze” pays a visit. We’re just lucky that the ex never replied, we didn’t break our foot, and that we didn’t  get pregnant, because things could easily have gone the other way. Think before you drink, and for goodness’ sake, delete your ex’s number immediately!

My studies

Along with New Zealand and America, Australia is one of the countries in which tertiary education students are more likely to engage in risky drinking behaviour, such as binge drinking. I’ve often woken up completely dry mouthed from a night out, glitter streaked across my face, and have opted for an extra hour of sleep over attending my 9am lecture.

Should a great night out really take priority over your degree? That’s a question we should ask ourselves more often.

My future 

Facebook-lurking has extended beyond ex-partners, crushes and that popular girl from high school, and has now fallen into the hands of employers. If you’re applying for a job, they’ll probably scour the internet for any traces of embarrassment you may have left behind. That photo of you with your tits out in first year? They’ll see it. That time you pissed on a heritage listed landmark? They know about it. My advice to you: un-tag, un-tag, un-tag! Your future should always trump funny photos from a good night out.

Kate Neilson

Kate Neilson is a third year journalism student at CSU in Bathurst. She likes to unwind with a nice cup of tea and enjoys making lists. She's still figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up.

Image: Ray Weitzenberg, Flickr Creative Commons license