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Miami students miss out on a typical 21st birthday celebration

<p>Over a year later, students having their 21st birthdays are still having to consider the pandemic into their plans <br/><br/></p>

Over a year later, students having their 21st birthdays are still having to consider the pandemic into their plans

Students wanting to take their first legal sip of alcohol for their 21st birthday in one of Oxford’s uptown bars may have to wait just a bit longer this year.

Senior Zach Resatar, a political science major, turned 21 on Feb. 26, and his first choice of where to celebrate his big day was an obvious one: Brick Street Bar & Grill. 

“You dream of the day you get your first legal drink somewhere uptown,” Resatar said, “so I’d like to go out.”

Resatar said he and his friends were in the middle of planning the day when he learned Brick Street’s reservations were filled to capacity, meaning he had to figure something else out.

“It definitely sucks,” Resatar said. “We don’t really have a plan yet, but I definitely don’t plan on spending it alone.”

Junior Romie Crist, an art major, turned 21 on Feb. 18 and had big plans for her 21st before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a family tradition to go to Las Vegas for your 21st, but it’s just not the safest right now,” Crist said. “I’d have a better time if I just waited, so that’s the plan.”

Instead of traveling to America’s “Sin City,” Crist and her family had dinner in her hometown, where Crist said she enjoyed her first alcoholic beverage as a 21-year-old. Crist said she made sure to give out her identification to prove she was old enough to drink, even if it wasn’t quite necessary.

“I didn’t get carded since I was with my parents, and so my dad had to actually make sure the waiter carded me, so I could show off my license,” Crist said.

Crist said getting alcohol on her own was an exciting feeling, but without a bar to utilize it, the excitement didn’t last.

“I went to Kroger to buy alcohol, and I wasn’t carded there either,” Crist said. “You get this hype, and then it just kind of fades, and you’re like, ‘So this is what it’s like now.’”

Senior finance major Andrew Slawson considers himself one of the luckier ones. He turned 21 on Feb. 9 last year, just before the bars shut down.

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“I was able to go to [Bar 1868], and it was fun,” Slawson said. “This was pre-COVID, so being able to get that 21st birthday drink was extra special before things started closing down.”

Senior biology and environmental science double major Ryan Gerbitz also just made the pandemic cutoff, turning 21 on Jan. 9, 2020. 

“I remember for my 21st, it was before everything shut down and things were pretty normal,”  Gerbitz said. “Some friends and I went to one of the bars, and we did the normal party thing for the 21st. We had a blast.”

While Gerbitz was able to go out on his big day, he said he felt for those who weren’t able to.

“I mean it’s tough for them, it would suck to be in that spot,” Gerbitz said. “But I would tell them to just plan to keep that same energy for when everything opens. When this whole thing is over, you can celebrate it then.”

Resatar said he did eventually plan on having what he called a “faux birthday celebration” for when he is able to go to the bars with his friends.

“I’d like to think of it as re-celebrating the birthday,” Resatar said. “I just can’t wait to get the party started.”