Myth-ing your way through college and drinking

Chrissy Lowe
Staff Writer

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You’ve been sitting in class for 15 minutes or so, when the guy in the corner of the class yells, “Hey, we can leave class without being penalized now!” In reality, this is a common misconception among Upstate students. This and other wild beliefs came to light as the search for the wildest myths got underway. Two of the most popular ones were the myths surrounding the “freshman 15” and the “15-minute rule.” Yancy McDougal, psychology professor and IDS director at Upstate, spoke clearly on this rampantly accepted belief. She explained that after twenty-three years as an instructor at Upstate, she has yet to hear any credible source state that students can leave class without penalty, if their professors have not yet arrived after 15 minutes. In fact, the only source she has ever heard this tidbit from, was the students.

Another common topic of campus myths, were those surrounding the dreaded “hangover.” One such myth is that drinking a full glass of water before bed will stave off morning queasiness, throbbing headache, and the overall feeling of ick, following a night on the town. You may have also heard the phrase, “Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear,” but according to Greatist, a health and fitness website, this is most definitely a myth. This website also debunks the myth that drinking coffee and taking a cold shower after waking up with a hangover will help sober you up. The website states, “A human liver can process about one standard drink every hour. That’s 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. Coffee or a brisk bath might wake you up a little, but it won’t speed up the process of eliminating the bad stuff from your system. Time is (unfortunately) the only cure.”

The last common myth among students is that eating a greasy burger, before drinking, will keep you from getting as drunk, and will help prevent a hangover, as well. This may be partially true, due to the fact that eating beforehand may help keep you from feeling a buzz so soon. However, once the food is processed out of your system, your body will begin to absorb more alcohol, and it will not be too long before you start feeling a buzz.

To better understand why people believe in the things that they do and what can cause a myth to start, McDougal answers a few questions to satisfy the curiosity. Consequently, she teaches a psychology class called, “Believing in Weird Things.” One of the reasons, McDougal said, that people believe in myths is because, “we want to try to understand our environment, we want to try to control our lives, so myths [weird beliefs] sometimes come into play because they explain things for which sense has no good explanation.”

If you are interested in a critical thinking psychology class and this topic interests you, you may want to look into taking the class. Although it is not offered very often, you can always check in SSC in the course listing to see if it is offered for the semester.