Article

“Assessing Drinking and Academic Performance Among a Nationally Representative Sample of College Students,” by Anna K. Piazza-Gardner, Adam E. Barry, and Ashley L. Marianos.

Summary

The article has published the findings of a research that was aimed at finding out the relationship between alcohol consumption in students and its effects on the performance of students in the academic sphere. Research already conducted on this topic has revealed that as the consumption of alcohol increases, the grades of students start to decline. This result was already confirmed by the article. The sample of the research consisted of 22,424 students which was a national representative of college students in the USA. The results of the research suggested that students who consumed more alcohol drinks had lower grades compared to students who were consuming less alcohol. Another result of the study suggested that though, high grade students might not consume a lot of alcohol on regular basis, they might be involved in episodic drinking. Student with less GPA was less involved in episodic drinking. The study suggested that we could predict the academic performance of a student by looking at the count of drink units that he/she consumed. Binge drinking or consuming a lot of alcohol in one setting was also a predictor of academic performance. For example, students who were regular in binge drinking, were less likely to achieve higher grades compared to those students who were not involved in binge drinking most often.  The research suggests a strong relation between drinking alcohol and student academic performance and is in line with most of the previous researches that has suggested strong correlation between poor academic grades and the increased amount of alcohol in college students.

Who to interview?

The first issue that I had was to know who to interview as I did not know anyone with drinking problem. I then came back to the guidelines for the paper and realized that I need to interview students who consume alcohol and do not need to have an alcohol problem. I went back to my friends and asked them if they know students who consume alcohol. I do not consume alcohol, therefore, I did not know a lot of people who might consume alcohol. Keeping it short, I finally found two student who are regular alcohol consumers. One of them is good at studies and achieves high GPA while the other is an average student.

Interview Abdullah

Abdullah is originally from an Arab country who moved to USA like a year ago. He did not consumer any alcohol back in his country because it is banned there. We can say that he is new to drinking. I wanted to know why he started to drink if he did not drink back home. Abdullah started to drink alcohol for fun but now, he drinks a lot of alcohol. Abdulla said, and I quote “I thought it is fun, but now, I cannot stop drinking”. His academic performance is not that impressive which could be related to the findings of the research article (Piazza-Gardner, Barry, and Marianos, 2016). But then, he said that he has not been good at his studies from the beginning, which lead me to the conclusion that there are many more predictors of academic performance and alcohol consumption is one of them.

Was fun the only reason that kept Abdullah drinking alcohol? According to Abdullah, “there is not more fun, I drink because I cannot socialize in the USA due to language barrier.” It was startling to know that less social interaction could be a reason to make you drink alcohol in large quantities. I requested him to seek professional help because it he might become alcoholic and there might be less chance for him to return to a normal life. He agreed to it.

To the question about how many days can students drink and stay focused on their studies, Abdullah replied that he did not think drinking alcohol is something good for a student. Though, he was a binge drinker himself, he opposed the idea of students consuming alcohol at all. I was about to ask him about the effects of alcohol on his personal life and memory but he started to talk about this topic by himself. He said that he has started to forget things because of alcohol habits. He forgets how much money he spends on shopping, he forgets his class assignments and forgets to call his parents back home. When asked about binge drinking, Abdullah said that there is not binge drinking specifically. Drinking any number of drinks is binge as it makes you follow a pattern of increasing the number of drinks and you become addicted to it.

My personal reflection about this interview is that people with alcohol abuse problems know their problem but need some attention and assistance from loved ones to seek professional help. As I said earlier, I did give him a suggestion to do so and he agreed to it.

Interview with Jack

Jack is 22 years old and drinks one or two cans of beer a day. He is really good at studies and is considered to be one of the top students. Jack said that he started to drink from an early age, an age way bellow than the legal age. He considered it to be the main reason about even drinking at first place. His father was an alcoholic and used to drink all the times. Jack said “it is not a good experience at all to grow up in a family where you see alcohol all around you”. He was badly influenced and used to drink his father’s left overs. Then, he started to buy his own alcohol. But, he says that he had a teacher at his school who used to counsel him about quitting alcohol because it will destroy his life. He slowly decreased his alcohol use and it provided him an opportunity to focus on his studies. He started to perform better in his studies. According to the article “Results revealed that respondents with lower GPAs consumed a greater number of drinks compared with those with higher GPAs” (Piazza-Gardner, Barry, and Marianos, 2016). This is exactly what can be related to Jack because his academic performance started to take a turn from bad toward good with a decrease in alcohol and he started to focus on his studies.

I asked him that if he did not like his father drinking habits, why no he quits drinking. He responded “the problem is not alcohol, it’s how much you”. He said he is in full control because he can avoid alcohol when he wants at any time. He said that it is ok to drink in large quantities once in a blue moon to get high. I think this is what has been described in the research article as episodic drinking. According to the article “Students with higher GPAs engaged in heavy episodic drinking less than students with lower GPAs.” (Piazza-Gardner, Barry, and Marianos, 2016). What Jack said does not support what the article has to say about episodic drinking because the article stresses that episodic drinking has a negative impact on student academic performance while Jack is a bright students and is used to episodic drinking. Jack was of the view that a student could drink as many days of the week as he/she wants but not a lot of drinking or binge drinking. This again supports what the article has to suggest.

I had heard that alcohol had a negative impact on memory. I asked Jack about it. He said that he also thinks that alcohol might not be good for memory but you would have to be a binge daily drinker to effect any memory issues. He used to forget things when he used to drink a lot in his school days. According to Jack, Binge drinking is when you drink five drinks of any alcohol type in one day. This is what he opposed. According to Jack, binge drinking will not only impact your academic performance, but your personal and social life as well.

Conclusion

From the interviews and the article, I was able to draw a conclusion about the use of alcohol drinking. Drinking alcohol and using it as a socializing tool is not a bad thing to do. The problem is when you start to abuse alcohol and can be termed as an alcoholic person. This is where you need to seek professional help and look for a serious therapy or joi a group. Students need to understand that their ultimate goal is academic performance, a performance that can help them shape their future. Not a performance that they might need to hide from people and which could not help them get a good job. Students should not consume alcohol in large quantities because it can affect their academic performance negatively. This does not mean students who have reached a legal age should not drink alcohol or join parties with alcohol consumption opportunities. Students should attend parties and drink responsibly. This is how they can socialize with other students and also keep a stable academic performance.

Definition of terms

Episodic drinking: It refers to drinking heavily but not always. I mean that you might go to a bar or club once a month and drink 5 or more drinks at once.

Binge drinking: Binge drinking is like episodic drinking but on regular basis. A person who goes to a bar every day or most of the days and consumes a lot of alcohol could be considered as binge drinker.

Academic performance: Student academic performance is a measure of how well they are doing at their studies. It could be measured with percentage of marks achieved or GPA.

Open ended questions

  • Do you think alcohol use has any effect on your academic performance?
  • Why do you drink at all?
  • How many days do you think a student should drink and why if they should?
  • Do you think that alcohol use has any effect on your memory?
  • What do you consider to be binge drinking?

List of Questions

Is it even important for both men and women to work full time?

What is the impact of both parents working full time on children?

What has masculinity to do with gender inequality?

Why has cultural understanding of women posed a hindrance to women working full time?

Is there more gender equality compared to past?