Studying at a university is a time for exploration. It should be a joyous period, full of thinking differently and trying new things.
For some students, their newfound independence offers too many temptations. They make bad decisions that lead to negative consequences, including criminal prosecutions. A conviction for a youthful error of judgment can follow any academic into adulthood.
Parties are integral to the collegiate lifestyle. We all know alcohol plays a role, even though student bodies are primarily beneath the drinking age. Any person under 21 caught consuming spirits faces various penalties. Besides license suspension, busts cause higher insurance rates and limits on post-schooling opportunities.
Some students prefer cannabis to alcohol. The penalties for getting caught with weed in Tennessee are severe. Those holding half an ounce are subject to a Class A misdemeanor charge. These first-time offenders could still wind up in jail for a year, plus receive a fine of as much as $2,500. Punishments rise with each following incident.
One activity popular among adventure-seeking youth is driving erratically. Some believe that exceeding the speed limit impresses passengers. Others relish the thrill of cheating death. Of course, no one is invincible. Drag races and other motor vehicle follies often have tragic results. When wrecks happen, the potential for accusations of manslaughter becomes high.
Institutions of higher learning are safe havens of intellectual freedom. That said, scholars are not immune from making mistakes they will regret. Teach them well about what decisions they must avoid.