KATIE CORT ’19
A stereotype that exists about Trinity students is that the majority are “coke-heads.” On the college advice website Niche, Trinity was rated among the worst for drug safety. In a string of comments on College Confidential, an online college discussion forum, a prospective student claimed they were considering Trinity as a school choice, but saw its ratings for drug safety and decided otherwise. A review posted in 2014 on Niche reads, “I was the only one of my friends freshman year who hadn’t done coke.” Another one says, “Cocaine is rampant on campus as well. Few freshman will finish their first year at Trin without having done a line.” Personal feelings aside, the problem remains that a large population of people (parents, prospective students, current students, etc.) believe Trinity is a school comprised of cocaine addicts. I disagree with this statement. Even if you believe it to be true, the truth is that anywhere you go, it is difficult to escape the social pressure of drug use. The only place to really escape any sort of pressure to experiment with drugs in college would be attending a hyper-religious college in the middle of the mountains. The “best” colleges in the country; Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, have drug scenes as well, and there are students at those schools who choose to snort cocaine at fraternities on Saturdays. It is nearly impossible to escape the drug culture if you choose to party in college, but there are solutions.
One is to find something else you like to do on the weekends besides going to parties. Obviously, the pressure to drink and do drugs will be much greater when you are around people who are all doing the same. The other is just simply say no if you do not want to participate. I have never been in a situation where I have said no and felt threatened, insecure, or targeted because I chose to not do drugs or drink a certain type of alcohol. A lot of this has to do with the people I choose to associate myself with. My friends and those in my social circle would never pressure me to do something I do not feel comfortable with, and along those lines, would never judge me for that decision either. It is important to stay friends with those who like you for how you are completely sober, not the friends who you associate with when you are out drinking on a Saturday. There are definitely incidents at Trinity where people feel pressured to partake in the drug culture, particularly first-years who are more vulnerable to social pressures, out of a desire to be accepted or liked.
Regardless, it is important to learn through this process how to handle yourself in these situations. Drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure do not just come to a halt when we depart Trinity’s campus after four years. They exist throughout our entire lives and will follow us no matter where we go. So, that is why during these four years it is so critical to know our limits, trust ourselves, go with our guts, and find those people who like us for who we are, not for what we do on the weekends. In addition to that, it is also important to always be vocal about what makes us uncomfortable and what we are not okay with. There are many ways to turn down drugs. You could simply say no, you could tell a white lie, you can pretend, whatever it may be. A support system ensures you are never the odd one out. Cocaine is a dangerous drug that can easily become an addictive habit; it’s not just a casual substance to be passed around at college parties. It should not be considered safe, cool, or normal to do dangerous drugs and we should never feel pressured to do something we’re uncomfortable with.