By Chris Wilcox
It’s Friday night and you have some friends over to your dorm room to pregame the big party of the week. As you and your friends are drinking, you turn up the music and the conversations get a little louder. There’s a knock at the door – it’s the RA. Busted. The party’s over and the RA on duty starts taking everyone’s name down for violating the school’s alcohol policy.
As an RA myself, I can tell you that alcohol violations are one of the most frequent disciplinary infractions I see from new college students. College drinking culture can be very tempting. Some students get a rush from bending the rules (and in most cases the law) while trying to make new friends. Despite how common campus alcohol violations are, you should not take the incident lightly if you happen to get caught.
So what should you? Arguing, making excuses, or getting visibly upset in front of everyone is not going to help the situation. Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage:
Talk to your RA.
If you haven’t gotten to know your RA, this is the perfect time to tap into their resources and expertise. While your RA can’t exactly tell you the consequences since each incident is different, they are familiar with the rules of on campus housing. Your RA will be able to inform you about the typical process. At some schools, you will receive an email or letter from the hall director of your building stating that must meet with him or her to discuss the violation.
During your meeting, the director will go over the report from the RA who encountered the incident and you can present your side of the story. From there, the director will decide what the penalty should be. This can range from a warning to being dismissed from housing. If you’re nervous about meeting with the hall director, bring a friend to wait outside who you can talk to immediately after. Having a support system can make a difference and ease your jitters.
When you’re meeting with the hall director, he or she has a report from the night of the alcohol violation from the Resident Assistant. There is no use in lying and saying that you weren’t in your room the night of the incident. Lying can only hurt you.
The most important thing you can do is relax. Worrying about if your parents or your coach will find out will not make the situation go away. Those are questions that will be answered in due time. Just make sure that you learn from the experience and take the process as it goes. And don’t forget, there’s plenty of fun to be had at college that doesn’t involve drinking.