Following my last meal at The Loop, I had a debilitating case of the tummy rumblies. Not at all the best way to kick off the semester, but it happens to the best of us, I suppose. It’s pretty scary to think that one poorly crafted meal can ruin your whole day. But it’s even scarier to think that each one of our life choices holds tremendous weight on our future.

My lifestyle has been far from sustainable in the past few years. Over break, my eating habits became equivalent to that of a disgruntled possum, at times plowing through 4,000-pluss calories of complete trash in a day. Taco Bell runs became more and more frequent, and my increasing appetite had to meet the needs of my ever-growing belly bulge. And this past semester, while I may not have gotten “turned up” on the daily, the few times I did were memorable experiences for everyone but me. I dig subpar photo-ops and stomach-churning hangovers as much as the next guy, but it really got me thinking.

Freshman year was when things really started to go downhill, and on one fateful night during first semester, my perspective on drinking would change forever. After a rather brief pregame of downing shots with a couple of bros, we began to stumble over to the bus stop. Prior to our departure, a friend had concocted a unique blend of vodka and orange soda—it was quite delectable, but more importantly, very alcoholic. It was for the road, he began to say, as I foolishly snatched it from his clutches. Unfortunately for me, it was the final nail in the coffin. Just as I raised the bottle to the sky to take the final swig, everything went dark.

I soon began to hear soft murmurs and recognizable voices. My eyes were glued shut, and I had no control of my body, yet I was teetering on the brink of consciousness—the best way I could describe it was an alcohol-induced coma. Luckily, I had friends that loved me enough to drag my limp body back to Southgate.

Some might say I should have been EMS’d. Others may disagree fervently. The fact of the matter is, should the conditions have been shifted ever so slightly, I could very well have been done for. Maybe my inability to consume hard liquor, even after a year of recuperation, is my body’s way of telling me this is no good for me. The whole ordeal was one of the worst cases of alcohol poisoning I’ve weathered, but this isn’t close to being the only one.

While it may be a struggle now, I know what I want for my future—so I decided to quit drinking.

I’ve found more and more that my loved ones are beginning to shy away from alcohol and drug use in an effort to focus on their goals and future plans. Needless to say, I have been growing into a more future-oriented person since coming to Duke, and it’s no question that we have all come here to become something truly great. The real world isn’t fair, and I don’t think I’m ready to handle it quite yet. And from what I hear, it ain’t gonna be getting any easier.

I’m beginning to feel like my time is just about up. I think of these four years to be one of the most volatile in our entire lives. But as much self-exploration as I have been doing, I have equilibrated using my own vain desires to preserve my sanity. It is a struggle I will continue to face, but at Duke I am in good hands. Best of all, life is only getting easier. So, my fellow Dukies, promise me that you’ll leave no page unturned—it could be the one that opens up the next great chapter in your life.

Bryan Somaiah is a Trinity sophomore. His column runs every other Friday. Send Bryan a message on Twitter @BSomaiahChron.