The Effect of Alcohol and other Drugs on Your Professional Identity

The Effect of Alcohol and other Drugs on Your Professional Identity

Your intern, co-op and job search begins today. Protecting your professional identity now will pay off for years to come.

Thinking and acting as a professional includes many things such as acquiring work experience, getting good grades and joining professional organizations, but it also includes making behavioral choices today that will enhance rather than limit your future options. Unfortunately binge drinking- drinking to get drunk as well as other alcohol and drug abuse can affect your professional opportunities in many ways.  

Studies have revealed a consistent association between higher levels of alcohol consumption and academic performance. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Task Force on College Drinking reports that about 25 percent of college students report academic problems caused by alcohol use, such as earning lower grades, doing poorly on exams or papers, missing class, and falling behind (http://www.higheredcenter.org/files/product/fact_sheet2.txt )   Your academic performance will affect your future in many ways including the opportunity to study abroad, employment, and graduate education.

Alcohol and other drug abuse could result in discipline at the campus level or a court of law. Even non-criminal offenses such as underage drinking, possession, open container, driving under the influence, using a false ID, furnishing alcohol to minors, or disorderly conduct may affect your ability to obtain your dream co-op, study abroad, or be hired.   Criminal charges can have a lasting impact on your reputation and employment even when the charges are dismissed. Even though a conviction such as underage drinking may not appear on a background check it can be accessed by anyone who has web access to the internet and court records.   In spite of non-discrimination laws, you may be screened out of future employment, study abroad, and graduate education opportunities based on a review of your records.   A record check may also be used by international study programs, graduate programs, rental agencies, lenders, and insurance providers to make a decision about you

Students under the influence of alcohol are more likely to make decisions that they would not normally make.   Poor choices could include but not limited to skipping classes, performing poorly at work, driving intoxicated or engaging in unprotected sex.   The consequences of poor choices such as these can last a lifetime.  

Posting evidence of illegal or unprofessional behavior on social networking sites may also have a long term impact on your professional opportunities. Friends may be amused, but it’s a sure bet that prospective employers will not.   A 2009 CareerBuilder survey of over 2,500 employers found that forty-five percent admitted routinely screening applicants by accessing social networks that the prospective employees think are “private.”   What many students seem not to realize is that those party pictures will follow them well beyond the college years.

The identity that you are building today will follow you for the rest of your life. Begin now to assure that you are building a record that you can be proud of and one that will assist you fulfill your professional and personal dreams

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For more information or questions contact

Dean of Students Offic
130 Bowman Hal
715.232.118
dean_of_students@uwstout.edu