Yes, today is actually my birthday and I turn 21. I am super excited about it, but not for the reason most people would think. The reason for my excitement is that I have made it to the age of 21 without ever drinking alcohol.
I have been a participant, student leader, and adult leader through my time in an organization called Teen Institute. We are a prevention agency focused on showing high schoolers that it is cool to not drink or do drugs and that you can still have a great time. I am now on the board of this nonprofit and have truly made their mission my own.
This is by far the greatest accomplishment of my young life, even though I’ve done some pretty cool things like score a goal in a collegiate soccer game, study food systems in Tanzania, and tour the islands of Greece. Not drinking until the age of 21 will be an accomplishment I cherish for a lifetime.
While I do throw alcohol under the bus a bit above, it can be a good thing as well! I have always planned to drink in moderation when I reached the age of 21 and actually had my first alcoholic beverage ever, a red wine, at 12:00am. To be honest, it was pretty dry and a little too strong.
Teen Institute has been a blessing for me as I was able to find a place to establish my values surrounded by like minded individuals. The friends and experiences I have made through the organization are countless and I have loved every minute of it. If you get the chance, join TI, you won’t be sorry.
College isn’t all about partying and going out. It’s about solidifying your future, meeting some awesome people, and making memories that you will someday tell your children.
Have a great week and stay classy!