Q I’m a first-year law student facing finals and behind in studying. I’m part of a study group that gets together three times a week at a local coffee shop that also serves beer and wine. We usually start out pretty serious but within thirty minutes someone says they need a beer and we end up ordering a round, sometimes just to try something new that’s on tap. Usually, we each drink 2-3 beers, though one of us doesn’t drink anything except an occasional glass of wine toward the end of the evening. I want to say the drinking ends up being a waste of time but I really think we do better once we have a couple of beers in our systems and get going. Is there any evidence that this is true?
A You’re kidding, right? No. Think of it this way. You are at counsel table as a criminal defendant, accused of capital murder, when your attorney walks in and, reeking of beer, sits down and says “hey, feeling pretty good after three Bud Lites, let’s get this party started.” Besides that, you’re burning through your law student loans by partying under the auspice of studying. You can justify it that way, but everything about this scenario has payback. Your student loans later, padded by your bar tab, and the crappy grades you’ll get as a result of “thinking” you’re Perry Mason when you’re just hopped up on hop.
Tell you what. Give this a try. Keep up your study plan and use your wine-drinking friend as a control. See how he or she does compared to you. I bet two pints of really good beer she does better. Write back later to let me know.