By Alison Lippincott
Can I drink on break? Can I drink over summer? What if I just don’t get caught? Does that count? As long as I only have one drink I should be fine right? I cannot tell you how many questions just like these I’ve heard on campus. My answer to them is always the same: that’s your decision, not mine.
As part of my enrollment requirements at Corban College (now Corban University), I was presented with a Code of Conduct. Included in this contract were rules about alcohol. I figured that would not be too difficult since I was eighteen at the time and had no intention of breaking the law. I had no intentions of partying on the weekend and coming to class Monday morning with the worst hangover of my life. I did not want to be the girl found passed out, or worse, dead from alcohol poisoning. To me, drinking alcohol was black and white: drunk or not drunk.
I soon realized just how wrong I was.
Drinking is not always as black and white. In fact, rarely is it so. One drink? Two drinks? Driving or not driving? Does my head feel fuzzy? If anything, I realized the issue of drinking is not as simple as I once thought.
As I came closer to my 21st birthday, I was faced with a choice. For some, this choice was easier than it was for me. Would I drink? I did not want to throw a raging party and get hammered. But what if I wanted to go enjoy a drink on my birthday? I knew I was still on contract, but I also was turning 21. How could a school board take away my right of passage?
I hear this argument frequently. Why does Corban think they can keep us from drinking? Don’t they realize it’s only making us less capable of deciding for ourselves? It’s my right! My decision! A part of me wants to agree with them. I want to decide for myself whether I should drink or not. Other people argue that Jesus drank wine. Good job, Corban students. Jesus did drink wine.
The issue isn’t if drinking should be allowed. Corban is not asking its students to never ever drink. The board just asks us to wait until we graduate, and as a governing body of a private institution, they have every right to do so. They have not taken our decision to drink away from us. They have actually given us another choice. Should we disregard our promise to Student Life and drink or hold to our word and abstain until graduation? In my opinion, that decision is far more important than the decision of whether or not I should drink.
When February 9th came, and I turned 21, I realized my word was more important to me than one drink with my friends. After graduation, I might drink. I might not. What is more important to me is accomplishing what I set out to do.
It doesn’t bother me that other people drink. It doesn’t bother me that Corban students drink. But it also doesn’t bother me that I am under contract. I think a sign of maturity is accepting authority, not sneaking around it. Please do not read this and think I am some “holier-than-thou” Christian. I hate rules. I want independence at every turn. And I do not deal with authority well.
I want to be in charge of my life. But the older I get, the more I realize this is not my life to take charge of. My life is the Lord’s. He sent me to Corban where I was placed under this dreaded contract. I could have gone to Biola or Westmont. Neither of those schools has conduct codes like Corban. Yet I find myself here instead.
I want to be clear. It does not matter if I agree with the contract or not. I came here willingly, as did every other student here. I willingly signed the Code of Conduct. I chose this for myself. If nothing else, I need to be able to accept the consequences of my decisions.
I fully support students who want to try to change this contract. It is their right to do that. But for me, it is more important to be a person of character than to have a drink.