Turning 21. The age of freedom!
No longer does the mocking sign of “Must be 21 to Enter” hold a person back. Now one can order a margarita, hold the virgin. For some, turning 21 is spent having a casual drink at a bar, and for others, this means clutching the porcelain throne for three hours and regretting the day that they were born. However, for Vanguard students who sign the infamous “contract,” neither of those are an option.
Upon entering Vanguard, all students are asked to read the Student Handbook for the academic year and sign a contract stating that they will “refrain from the possession, purchase, or use of alcoholic beverages.” Period. Done. Seems pretty black and white, right? No asterisks or exceptions under any circumstances.
So it does not matter if you turn 21 and your friends want to take you out. It does not matter if you are out of the state visiting your long lost aunt and she wants to buy you a drink. It does not matter if you want to have a bottle of wine with your parents after a long, strenuous week of school.
Don’t get me wrong; I honestly and truly have such a love for Vanguard, our mission, and the amazing community that we reside in. But I think having such limitations has conditioned some to think alcohol is a carnal sin and never to be touched, talked about, or even thought of!
In my household growing up, I was exposed to alcohol early on as a normal and social aspect of adult life. After work, my parents would often open a bottle of wine and talk about their day together. Even during high school, I remember having red cups for movie nights with friends or parties (ah, the innocence) and not even thinking about them being mistaken for having alcohol in them. Now I can’t log onto Facebook and see a red cup without automatically assuming that this person is drunk.
I understand the policy of not using alcohol while living on campus and being under 21. Keeping the campus free from alcohol abuse is a vital part of the protecting the community, more fondly known as “The Vanguard Bubble.” Obviously, enforcing this for minors is a must because of a little thing called the law. Vanguard is, after all, a Christian university that believes and upholds Biblical and moral standards.
It seems that possibly the rule is not do not do, but rather do not get caught doing. So are we really all just living in a huge game of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to the issue of being 21 while abiding by contract standards? Is it naive to think that students will not partake in this cultural rite of passage? If you have a drink on your birthday and no one posts it on Instagram, did it really happen?