By: Moshe Blockman  | 

Alcohol-Wise: Scared Sober

We’ve all heard the complaints. Whether on the interweb or amongst your peers, YU’s required alcohol course (Alcohol-Wise) is worthy of a Coke chaser. While many of you might think I’ll be bashing the course, I’m actually more interested in improving it. The truth, is I believe this class is extremely important.

I know not everyone shares my sentiments. “YU thinks alcohol is the devil,” some quip, or “This is a joke requirement to replace a legitimate class,” others scoff. In fact, this course is common in major secular universities—and if they’re doing it, so should we. (Many also require students to take a sex-ed class—gasp!) The one bone I have to pick with the online course, however, is its extremist approach.

Simply put, all current students in YU have been instructed to take a tedious online course about the extreme dangers of alcohol consumption. Failure to do so will result in an account lockout for class registration.

In the class, students fill out a quick survey pertaining to the maximum amount of alcohol consumed in a certain amount of time by that individual. Honestly, if you’re asking me to recount the time I drank the most alcohol, you have better luck finding a Washington Heights party you actually enjoy.

After filling out the form, Blood Alcohol Content percentages are revealed to illuminate the potentially dangerous effects of your calculated BAC. From this point on, the course takes on seriously ominous tones.

As my BAC levels climbed, I was met with a series of less than earth-shattering statistics. Listen, I get it. I’m 340 times more likely to get in a car accident when my BAC was at its highest. From what I (don’t) remember, I could barely put together a coherent sentence and I’m sure I couldn’t even open a car door, let alone drive one.

Did you know that you are 470 times more likely to get destructive stomach issues if you eat 4 schnitzel laffas from Golan in one sitting? Now I’m no nutritionist, nor have I ventured to laffa binge, but I can tell you with certainty that you’ll soil your drawers if you eat this much.

Too much of anything is bad for you, so why keep reiterating the same adage over and over again? The more you run over a cat, the flatter it gets. Ironically, it appears that Alcohol-Wise creates more flat cats than drunk driving itself.

Various sections began to discuss how overconsumption could make one “black out, pass out, or even die.” To me this is borderline a scare-tactic. Across the spectrum, from drinking water to poking a hibernating bear, too much of anything can be fatal.

The constant fatal reminders of alcohol’s dangers are reminiscent of the current anti-smoking ads on TV and billboards. The US government has been producing grotesque advertisements with the hope to captivate and convince audiences to abstain from smoking by tapping into their deepest fears. I’m not the queasy type, but when I see a commercial of a guy struggling to talk out of a hole in his throat since smoking gave him throat cancer, I switch the channel.

Realistically, the vast majority of you readers have experimented with alcohol at some point and most of you didn’t die from it. It’s hard to take the course seriously when it feels like half of its curriculum is an intimidation campaign.

If Alcohol-Wise truly wants to have an effective curriculum, it is in need of some alterations. Instead of having sinister, fatal undertones, perhaps the course would benefit from placing greater emphasis on practicality. We should be learning how to take care of our peers when they have drank too much, instead of displaying daunting facts like, “Heavy drinkers between 18-25 are two times more likely to get an STD in the past year than those who abstain from drinking.” I would venture to say this method could save more lives than what is currently being taught. Preach holding your friends’ hair while his/her head is in the porcelain bowl, not, “Drinking games like beer-pong can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.” Learning the importance of how to properly hydrate and diet after drinking and when it’s safe or not to fall asleep is far more important than trying to make us quake in our boots and telling us alcohol leads to poor academic performance. College kids are going to drink and they aren’t going to stop just because their computer says so.

Under the given circumstances, Yeshiva University is closely following the status quo of collegiate alcohol awareness. Alcohol awareness is no joke and everyone needs to learn the dangers of copious consumption. Whether you’re shicker at the farbrengen or turnt at da club, people from all backgrounds can abuse alcohol. Although it may have an over-the-top agenda, the course serves the important purpose of educating alcohol awareness.

And remember, Alcohol-Wise is one of the few courses YU offers where you can ironically drink booze while taking. Cheers and safe drinking!