The Daily Gamecock

Letter to Editor: Decisions have lasting impacts

USC students ought to recognize, be more aware of responsibilities as adults

I recently made a series of decisions that led to my arrest. After these initial bad decisions, I proceeded on a track of even more low-quality decision-making when I “reversed my handcuffs and became combative,” leading to a highly deserved charge for resisting arrest. I have no memory of these events.

Make no mistake: The choices I made that night were fueled by alcohol consumption. By partaking in such an activity, I jeopardized not only the privilege of enrollment here, which I enjoy, but my leadership positions within several student organizations and even my future career options. Abstaining from overdrinking, fighting and DUIs is not just the responsibility of college kids; these are preconditions for a high-quality life that do not disappear. I want to have a job and a family, to be respected in my local community and to have the opportunity to coach, mentor and volunteer. The Office of Student Conduct views driving under the influence and resisting arrest offenses with the same ill humor our future employers will.

It would be a mistake to view the events of that night as a fluke that should be ignored because of my past high achievements. Everyone wants to be recognized for their successes, be it good grades or other achievements, and to downplay their missteps. In reality, our successes are due almost exclusively to the investment in us by caring and competent teachers, while we should be quick to own our failures; they are our best opportunity to learn. If we make excuses for our actions, we rob our mistakes of their teaching value. Hip-hop artists always want to be on “that next-level s—-.” That next level is adulthood.

Being arrested puts you on the grid — now people know. The question is, do you know, and will you learn? The details of your police report may include such gems as, “Suspect proceeded to threaten police and law enforcement agencies at large,” and “When on the ground, suspect attempted to bite the arresting officer.”

These deeply humiliating consequences require remedy through the immediate reformation of one’s attitude. The problem is, the school cannot simply take you at your word when you say you have been profoundly affected by the myriad of consequences of your recent arrest.

The school will further motivate you in your quest to cultivate a superior character by sanctioning you with learning opportunities. And what’s worse: They’re right. If you’re in front of them, you do need these programs. Anger and frustration almost always accompany bad decisions and jail time; don’t let them become your chief emotions.

Make it your business this spring to stay out of the Office of Student Conduct. But if you do end up standing tall in front of the administration here at South Carolina, own up to your actions. They really hate it when you don’t.

Editor’s note: The writer requested to remain anonymous to protect their reputation.