It is a cruel irony that some students may find that this time in their life when they have the most social interaction is also the time when they feel most isolated. The holiday season offers parents a unique opportunity to gauge their student's adjustment and provide support before they return for second semester.
What it all comes down to is liquid punctuation. The drinking isn't the occasion itself, just a handy excuse. It doesn't form the backbone, but can cap it off beautifully like a drinkable full stop. It can add a moment of drama in the form of a raised glass, help us pause for a moment and take stock.
Alcohol does funny things to us. This is essentially why we drink it. Many of these effects are positive; that said it is also unfortunately responsible for some near biblical lapses of judgment. This is because deep down inside all of us, in a place we don't like to talk about... there be monsters!