Editor's note: This is the campus perspective provided by our partners at UWire.com. Scott Sottosanto, the author, is a student at Eastern Illinois University.
I am 20 years, eight months and one-day-old and I still have yet to taste a drop of alcohol.
While I can see the bit of amusement in getting drunk or watching your friends get drunk, personally, I don't think I'd ever want to participate in something that involves being out of control of my own body.
Honestly, I don't see what's so appealing about going out every weekend and getting wasted with all of your friends-- maybe that's why they called it being wasted?
I mean, don't you want to remember what you did?
I think a little alcohol is all right, for instance, if you decided you wanted to try the new margarita flavor at a local restaurant.
I just don't like the idea of going overboard and I especially don't like the idea of minors going overboard.
Even before I got to college, my peers had been going out drinking.
And although everyone knows underage drinking is bad because it's against the law and you can get in trouble, there is one obvious point we are overlooking when it comes to underage drinking: It affects the brain.
According to an article that appeared on CNN.com, adolescent brains are still developing and are in a "learning" stage all the way into their early 20s.
Alcohol can damage the learning process in a young brain and can also affect a young person's memory.
And because young brains are still in this "learning stage," they are quicker to react to alcohol, meaning they will not feel tired or drowsy for a long time, unlike adult brains.
Since they have this longer period of time without becoming sleepy, it encourages them to drink more, hitting them with what CNN.com calls a "double whammy."
Adult brains, which are, according to the article on CNN.com, "more set in their ways," will get tired quicker, letting them know it's time to quit (alcoholism, of course, being another story).
And as I mentioned before, since young brains are in a "learning" stage, alcohol can cause a disruption in learning development.
And according to www.ahealthyme.com, more often than not, adults with an addiction to alcohol began drinking while in high school or earlier.
I know that schools across the nation have tried to stop underage drinking with programs such as D.A.R.E. and AlcoholEdu.
But I don't think these programs work.
I mean, I don't drink and even I thought AlcoholEdu was pointless. I remember thinking, 'Why should I fill this thing out when I know I'm not going to drink?'
Instead, I think parents need to step up.
Whether or not kids want to admit it, parents are our No. 1 influence.
If parents talk to their kids early and often about alcohol and its effects, I believe there would be a decrease in underage drinkers.
I think there would be even more of a decrease if parents quit drinking in front of their kids.
Because whether or not you choose to believe it, underage drinking is a serious problem.