As part of an anti-underage drinking campaign led by the students of Barrio Arts, Culture and Communication Academy (BACCA), Raquel Vivian, a journalism student and senior at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, is responding to real-life teen issues in an advice column for teenagers. The anti-underage drinking campaign, “This is the Real Me,” will continue in 2010 through youth-produced media projects in the areas of graphic design, radio, print journalism, and theatre.
My friends and I planned a small party to celebrate the last day of school before Christmas break. It was supposed to be something chill, you know, talking, listening to music, maybe some dancing — nothing too crazy. Some friends of mine showed up with bottles of vodka, and things started getting a bit out of hand. At first we were feeling silly and having fun, and then multiple fights broke out. I do like drinking, although I am only 17, but when things get crazy like they did, I really don’t know if I should bother drinking at all. Sometimes I think about looking for new friends because mine drink a lot, but I still think they are good people. What do you think? –Confusedindawindycity
Well, you sound like you just wanted to have some fun with your friends and enjoy the day, but legally, you should wait till you are 21 years of age to drink, just to be on the safe side. You mentioned that your intentions were to have fun and chill out with your friends, but as soon as you noticed things are getting carried away you should be the bigger person and try to get your friends from getting even more intoxicated. Things tend to get out of hand and pretty violent when there is a crowd of young teenagers and even adults under the influence of alcohol.
I don’t think you have to get new friends if you think your friends are good people. Your friends may not be angry people that like to start fights at all; they’re probably very nice friends, but you should talk to them about how you feel about the violence that erupts when they get intoxicated. It is also better to let them know ahead of time that you just want to hang out and not get too crazy. Also, having fun does not mean that you have to drink to enjoy yourself. Talk to your friends and see what their response is. If you do choose to continue drinking, drink responsibly and know your limits.