Courage From One of Our Own – Reflections from Freshman Year

Anna and her friends

Courage From One of Our Own

Reflections from Freshman Year

Starting college can be scary. Everyone is trying their best just to fit in – and a lot of people choose to fit in by drinking alcohol. I wasn’t one of those people. I went through my entire freshman year of college without drinking. But I wasn’t always comfortable sharing my choice to be alcohol free. At every party, I would carry around a bottle of water, Vitamin Water Zero Lemonade, or Gatorade Lime Cucumber, all of which looked like vodka or a weird concoction of alcohol. I would play along with people who guessed I was drinking because I thought I was the only person on campus who didn’t drink. I would peel the labels off my water, Vitamin Water, or Gatorade and pretend to be drunk, because I thought that was how to fit in.

On Halloween weekend, I went to a party. It was really loud inside, so I walked out onto the deck of the house and met Bryan (a stranger at the time who now is a friend). He looked at my water bottle and asked “Straight vodka? You’re hardcore!” I told him it was just water because I don’t drink. We talked for a while that night about how he wished that he had the strength not to drink. He was the first person to tell me that he respects the fact that I don’t drink, but he wasn’t the last! When I opened up to people about my choice to be alcohol free, the reactions by teammates, friends, coaches – even random people I met at parties – surprised me. They told me they respected me for not drinking.

Through all of my experiences during my freshman year of college, I learned that instead of being ashamed that I don’t drink, I should be proud of my decision. I am sure there are more people at my college who don’t drink. They may be carrying around a bottle of water or drinking Vitamin Water Zero Lemonade that I assumed was alcohol. As I head into my sophomore year, I will look beyond the label.

Anna Kedjidjian
Randolph-Macon College, Class of 2021
Deerfield High School, Class of 2017

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