Do I Need to Change My Drinking Habits After Graduating College?

Recent GraduateFor some people, their college years involve countless hours of studying, numerous late nights finishing papers, and a non-existent social life that would make even a hermit cringe. For others, college is a time where they will rarely step into an actual classroom, so that they can crack way more beers than books. For most students, however, it’s a little bit of both. You work pretty hard to get good grades, but not so hard that your college years don’t have a few booze-related memories that might make your mother faint.

Of course, aside from learning about the world and “exploring your wild side,” college is supposed to be about preparing for the work force. After all, if you’re going to be spending that much money on an education, hopefully your job prospects will be going up after you complete college and not down.

Depending on your aspirations and just how much “socializing” you’ve been doing, however, adjusting to life after college can be a difficult transition. If you’ve been doing your fair share of partying, then you may be wondering if you need to change your drinking habits after graduating college. That probably depends on whether you intend on joining the “nine-to-five grind” or have a functioning liver by retirement.

What’s your plan after graduation?

If you’re planning to roam through Europe, or to work part-time and just “decompress” for a few months, then chances are your drinking habits won’t have to change too much after graduation. However, if you’re set to begin med school or have just landed an internship with the White House, then going to a kegger every second night probably isn’t a good idea.

If you have no plan yet, other than you’re about to move back home with your parents, then here again, it’s safe to say your partying schedule may be significantly reduced. That said, if you’ve been away for a while and all of your high school pals are still around, the local bars will be happy to take as much of your money as possible. Hopefully, at this age you don’t still have a curfew.

How much did you drink during school?

Of course, much of this all depends on just how much drinking you did in college. If you just went drinking once a week on average, and mostly on the weekends, then guess what? That’s what thousands of nine-to-fivers already do. After a long week of work, they head out to a bar or relax at home and enjoy more than a few beverages. In other words, binge drinking isn’t just a college pastime.

Or, even if you’ve spent a few weekday nights drinking instead of studying, that doesn’t mean that your post-college life has to be completely devoid of fun. If you’ve ever been to a downtown bar shortly after 5:00 p.m., you may have noticed a large number of suits, briefcases, and comb-overs in attendance. That’s right, plenty of people who work nine-to-five aren’t just “weekend warriors” when it comes to drinking.

If, on the other hand, several of your college professors have never laid eyes on you because you’ve been too busy partying, that might have to change. Or, if you’re about to flunk out of college because you’ve started adding shots of tequila to your morning routine, then yes, something’s gotta give. Living a productive life if you have a drinking problem isn’t very common.

How important is boozing to you?

According to studies, most people will do their most drinking during their college years or in their early twenties. Depending on what kind of job you get, chances are you won’t be working with hundreds of other young adult who want to “get totally wasted” every second day. There probably won’t be dozens of hot, young men or women to hook up with either. In other words, the temptation to go boozing may not be as great.

In addition, life has a funny way of throwing things like mortgages, children, and car payments in your way. This is another reason most people on average don’t have to worry about changing up their drinking habits after college; life will do it for you.

If you’ve been hitting the sauce pretty hard in college, and never want to give that up, don’t forget that few people can physically keep it going anyway. When you’re young you may be able to go run across town after sucking on a beer bong all night, but, over time, your body changes and not for the better. Some of the important things that take a pretty direct hit from alcohol abuse include your liver, kidneys, pancreas, and brain.

What kind of drunk are you?

Then there’s also the matter of the type of drunk you are. If you’re a nice, outgoing person who gets even happier after a few drinks, then chances are you won’t end up offending your co-workers at the office party. If you’ve been known to be somewhat of a douche-bag when you’re drunk, or worse, then you may want to re-think your college drinking habits.

According to a recent study, people who “live in the moment” are more likely to be an emotional or aggressive drunk. Alcohol affects our brain’s ability to weigh the consequences of our actions, so if you’re already someone who doesn’t think about the long term, then you’re even more likely to tell your boss you “could take him” after downing a case of beer.