Age, Bars Should Not Split Seniors

By Sara Sahm

I’ve always been younger than my peer group (that’s what happens when your birthday is in October). And you know what? It’s never really bothered me – until now, that is. I turned 16 months after my friends did – they could drive and I couldn’t – but it was just exciting to think about being able to drive soon. I turned 18 a month after my freshman year at Georgetown started – it wasn’t that big of a deal either – it was more of a logistical pain trying to get om and Dad to sign off on various forms. Now, I’m less than a month away from turning 21 and for the first time in my life I feel left out.

I don’t drink much – I never have. In fact, I am very proud of the fact that I didn’t have my first alcoholic beverage in college until May of my freshman year. Needless to say, the whole being-able-to-drink-legally thing isn’t a huge deal for me. Last year, I spent five months in New Zealand where the drinking age is 18 and I can count on two hands the number of alcoholic beverages I consumed. The thing is, it was nice to be able to go out to a pub with my friends and hang out for the evening . have a beer if I wanted to . but it didn’t matter if I did or not. I was still there.

Suddenly, now that my senior year has started at Georgetown, I feel like people think that there’s something wrong with me because I’m not 21 and because I don’t have a fake ID (gasp!). I feel like I’m back in high school, when in order to hang out with the kids in the red hall (the “cool kids” if you will), you had to fit the mold. Now, the game is the same but the stakes are just slightly different.

You don’t get it? For a minute, put yourself in the shoes of an under-21-year-old-senior: It’s any day of the week. The clock strikes 11:30 p.m. Cell phones come out of pockets and purses. There’s a familiar line to all of the conversations around you: “So, what time are you going to the Tombs?” (It’s a nail-biter of a question, I know). Soon, there’s a resolution. And then comes the question directed towards you: “So, like, um, do you mind if I/we go out?” And you, the under-21-year-old, gets left in a bit of a quandary. You can say what you really feel and tell your buds that you’d actually really like to hang out with them. Or you can play the role of the “understanding friends” and tell them to go off and have a good time (while you’re left wherever you are to amuse yourself). You, being the “good sport” that you are, smile nicely and say “No, it’s okay. Really, go have fun” even though you don’t necessarily mean it. I don’t know anyone who consciously wants to spoil everyone else’s fun. But it sure does suck to always be the one who has to be the “good sport,” the one who always gets left behind.

So the long and short of it is that being one of the handful of seniors who isn’t 21, it seems like I’m constantly being reminded of that fact, reminded of what I can’t do. You see, I can’t go out to the Tombs every night. I can’t buy beer at Wisey’s. I can’t celebrate my friends’ birthdays at bars. And worst of all, I can’t participate in many of the events of “Senior Disorientation.” I can think of more fun things to do than hang out on a bus to Baltimore and back with a bunch of people who have been drinking. I can find more constructive ways to use my time than to go on a bar crawl through Adams Morgan only to have to come home without my friends because the bars are 21 to enter and I don’t have a fake ID. And why exactly do I want to pay $5 to spend the evening on Leavey Esplanade with my fellow classmates who are well on their way to being silly drunk? I’m not sure. The sad thing is, I’ll probably be at the Toga Party next Saturday night because I don’t feel like I should let my age dictate whether or not I take part in “memorable” parts of my last year at Georgetown. But I guess I’ll only be there until the crowd decides to move to the Tombs, at which point you’ll find the few seniors whom I know who aren’t 21 and me doing something else, wearing our white bracelets with pride!

Sara Sahm is a senior in the College.

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