COLUMN: Leave the keys at home

Spencer Jenkins

As many students leave their hometowns and families for the very first time and venture into the college realm, many get their first “taste” of freedom…the taste of alcohol.

Let’s face it. Most college students enjoy drinking socially, and some college students enjoy binge drinking and blacking out.

Sorry, you can’t dodge that fact. I’m well into my fourth year of witnessing this, but if someone would like to dispute this with me, feel free to do so.

And as a 22-year-old senior, I’ve had my fair share of crazy nights and confused mornings not remembering who drove me home and waking up covered in Volcano Tacos from Taco Bell that I had apparently bought before my sober driver dropped me off at home.

Although that little anecdote is a little embarrassing, yet somewhat humorous, notice two important words I used: SOBER DRIVER.

I don’t care how drunk or blacked out you might be, you need to always prepare ahead of time and consult a friend or a taxi company before you start hitting the sauce for the night. It may change your life and even the lives of others.

When I was 18 years old, my life changed forever.

I received a hysterical call from a friend after our high school basketball homecoming dance around 6 a.m. telling me that our best friend had been involved in a drunk driving accident, and it wasn’t known if he was going to live.

After hearing this, I almost went back to sleep because it didn’t really hit me. Ten minutes later, I was hysterical and could barely breathe.

My best friend plowed through 40 feet of fence, and one of the fence posts went through his chest and out his armpit, barely missing his heart.

He downed whiskey before sitting behind the wheel of his Lincoln Town Car telling people what a lot of us say and have heard: “I’m good to drive, man.”

Well, he wasn’t. He lost his entire left arm and acquired multiple wounds and scars on his face and body.

Luckily no one else was hurt in the accident. But not only was he hurt physically and emotionally, so were his family members, friends and me.

This accident happened years ago, but I’ve honestly never recovered mentally from it. Regardless of what we think, our actions always affect the people around us.

It’s only the end of the first week of school, and since MASTER Plan there have been more than five arrests due to driving under the influence according to the campus police media log.

You may not think six sounds like a large number, but one DUI is one too many in my opinion.

Also, after you’ve been charged with a DUI you will either sit in jail until your court date or until an overly generous friend comes and bails out your sorry self. And after bailing out two friends last semester, I can tell you that it’s a humiliating experience. On top of that, you will also owe hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to whoever posted your bail.

Honestly, before you black out, make a conscious decision and plan on having a sober driver or taxi so no one’s safety will be in jeopardy.