RIP My Alcohol Tolerance


For my fellow postgrads who have forgotten what time of year it is, allow me to remind you: it’s syllabus week at your alma mater. If you’re anything like me, then it feels like a distant memory.

Syllabus week meant a few things:

  1. It was socially acceptable, even by college standards, to day drink, because even if you went to class for 50 minutes, you weren’t going to do any real work.
  2. The bars had amazing deals, because they were so thankful all the students were back on campus, and they knew that they would be the most crowded on weeknights during syllabus week.
  3. It was a time to test your limits. How much has my tolerance slipped over the summer, or has it improved thanks to a summer of late nights of drinking in a friend’s garage and waking up his parents in the middle of the night while we heat up our hot pockets?

All in all, syllabus week was nothing short of the most amazing welcome back to college, and a kind reminder that your life will probably not be any better than that week until the week before Christmas Break.

Drinking in college was not just a social activity as it is here in postgrad hell; it was a fucking sport. You couldn’t go one weekend without having some form of a tailgate, house party, beer olympics, or some made-up campus holiday. I think they call that heaven.

Now, in the real world, I actually think about the consequences of my drinking. Before I go out, I pretty much plan out the limit of drinks that I can have (by type and volume), so that I don’t wake up with a fatal hangover the next day.

Wait, why should a little hangover matter? It’s probably the weekend, what else could you have going on? Well, you naive little shit, there is yard work, golf outings, furniture shopping, grocery shopping, and lunches with grandmothers that all have to take place. So fuck you. I can’t drink myself into oblivion and then wake up around 2pm and eat leftover pizza and play Xbox with my roommate. I get home, drink a bottle of water, take some Aspirin, and pray.

The tolerance you once knew and loved in college is gone. GONE. No more mixing vodka with rum with shots of UV Blue or Fireball on top of 2 beers between every hard liquor drink. I made the fatal mistake of mixing vodka with beer and champagne at my company holiday party, and that ended with owing my sister a new pillow, a solid carpet cleaning, and an extensive sheet washing. (Yes, I know I still owe you the pillow.)

When I go out now, it’s a crucial decision of “Do I want to drink liquor all night and pay more?” or “Should I just stick with beer and maybe one or two shots?” It’s a hard decision, and it saddens me to have to make it every time.

This is probably why us postgradders always seem to be the talk of the company after a summer picnic, a company outing, or the holiday party. We try to cram everything we can remember about our college drinking lifestyle into one day, and 99.9% of the time it ends with you facedown on a table with your hand slumped over in a bowl of party mix while your younger coworkers run away and your boss is the one to send the photos of you out to the entire company, including the story about how you tried to get into a fight with the microphone stand…and lost.

The lesson in this depressing reality is to forget what you once were in the form of drinking ability. You’ve been put on Injured Reserved, and you’re not coming off the bench. Ever. There is no great comeback, only small bursts of what once was. Take those and cherish them.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re screaming to a room full of people that you can do the same party trick involving a minute-long keg stand after an enthusiastic round of Louisville Chugger, do yourself a favor and just don’t. You have nothing to prove, and ultimately you will only hurt yourself. Badly.

So when you get home tonight from another day living the “American Dream,” take a moment to raise your single-glass of red wine to your former glory and to all those about to experience their last syllabus week. Because after this week, you know as well as I do that they’re one step closer to being completely fucked. Misery loves company, right?

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Mike lives in Chicago and has spent the better part of his life ragging on all things that annoy him. He will become a true Post-Grad next summer when he gets married to his other Post-Grad half who shares his hatred of all things stupid. Anyone with no interest in the media industry, craft beers, strong bourbons, and the ultimate joy of the golf course should seek other articles.

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