According to a recent survey released by Director of Academic Assessment Leah Adams-Curtis, Knox freshmen are less likely to drink than at other schools, while being more likely to drink during their senior year.
Adams-Curtis presented the findings to the Student Life Committee last week. The survey also included information on smoking rates and overall satisfaction with the Knox experience.
“The presentation that I gave was at the request of [the] Student Life Committee here, and their interest is pretty obvious,” Adams-Curtis said. “What I was presenting were the results of a national survey Knox participates in on an annual basis. It was a standard survey used at colleges across the country.”
Senior Carly Oto, when arriving as a freshman made the decision to refrain from drinking until of legal age.
“I made a decision at some point in my life to not drink until I was 21. Not for any specific reason … it wasn’t religious. I just wanted to,” Oto said.
But even before turning 21, Oto recalls seeing the appeal of drinking by observing friends on the weekend.
“I think by the time I was 21 I was waiting for it,” Oto said. “I don’t want to say that’s what weekend life revolves around, but that’s what all my friends did. And I was the one taking care of them, and I didn’t want to have to do that anymore. They just looked like they were having so much more fun.”
Because of the limited activities and events that take place on the weekends, one anonymous Knox freshman confessed drinking to be the easiest alternative to boredom.
“Most people are like ‘Well, what are we going to do tonight? Well, there’s nothing to do in Galesburg so let’s just go drink,’” the freshman said. “So that’s basically what it ends up being, although because of a lot of the other activities on campus that UB [Union Board] does or ABLE or things like that are earlier in the night, people just go to those and since there’s nothing to do after, it’s like ‘Oh, let’s just go drink’ because we live in Galesburg and there’s nothing else to do.’”
After seeing the results presented to the Student Life Committee, Oto agreed with the data. According to them, there are still plenty of Knox students who do not drink during their first term.
“I did see that study, and I think it is very true,” Oto said. “With my experience, I know a lot of people who didn’t drink freshman year who did sophomore year or now, or even later in freshman year. They entered in fall term saying ‘Oh, I don’t drink, I’m not going to drink that much.’ And then that changed very quickly.”
As this is an annual survey, Knox has participated in the past, but the results have been more or less the same.
“I really haven’t looked that far back at it. I think our numbers are pretty consistent from year to year,” Adams-Curtis said.
Some incoming freshmen began drinking the summer before they arrived at Knox.
“I just started over the summer with my dad basically,” the Knox freshman said. “It was just like a glass of wine with dinner. And we were traveling a lot, so in Africa you can have a glass of wine with dinner.”
Peer pressure can have a lot to do with any decision made on a college campus. An environment of drinking will increase the likelihood of a student starting to drink, according to the Knox freshman.
“A lot of people shy away from pressure, so if you’re not pressured to do something, you can make your own decision, but if other people are doing it, then you’re more likely to make that decision on your own based on other people even if they’re not pressuring you to do it,” the freshman said. “I think it makes it easier for you to drink in later years because you haven’t been pressured.”