We’ve had a summer break in my Road to Indy USF2000 racing schedule.
And while the business of racing never ends, it has given me an opportunity to think about what is ahead in my non-racing life.
Moving beyond high school is a very strange time for kids my age. For as long as we can remember we have been going to school with the same people in the same area. But, for the first time in many of our lives we are experiencing significant changes. We are leaving an old life behind and getting the opportunity to start over in many aspects. For me, I will be going to the University of Indianapolis to study mechanical engineering to try and learn more about how a race car works so that as a driver, I can communicate better with my engineers and set up the best car possible. I’m very excited to meet new people and have new experiences.
With these new experiences, I know that I will be put in situations where I might feel pressured to do something, like drinking alcohol, that could ruin all that I have been trying to achieve. But I have made a commitment and an agreement with myself to not give in to peer pressure. If I give in and choose to drink underage, I could risk hurting myself or others, and ruining my life forever.
Many my age have already faced these decisions during high school. I honestly haven’t had to face the temptation to drink yet. Like me, my closest friends were all involved in sports and had jobs and we mostly spent time together in our group in what little free time we had. But all of that could change in college.
Most kids in these new environments are going to want to meet new people and make new friends. A great place to do this is at parties. But attending parties can come with its own risks. If you make the mistake of choosing to drink while underage, the consequences are not worth it. Saying no to alcohol might be a challenge, but I plan to be able to take part in the full college social experience without the need to drink alcohol—or involve myself in other risky behaviors–and try to set an example for my peers. If someone does need a designated driver, who better than a professional race car driver like me!
I look forward to the challenge, meeting new people and adjusting to an entirely new environment. I will continue to keep you updated on the experience. For information on making responsible choices while in college, find more at https://www.responsibility.org/prevent-underage-drinking/college-students-and-alcohol/..