You can still have fun at uni if you don’t drink
Keep your bad clubs and middle-aged DJs
Here are two scenarios: I’m in a 9am lecture, my head hurts so much that it might explode, and I keep having to leave to throw up in the nearest toilet. Or I’m in the same lecture, I’m clear-headed, four pages of notes in, and looking forward to finishing the rest of my coursework later so I’m able to see that film everyone’s talking about.
Uni culture has taught us, especially us freshers, that the the latter is extremely rare and unrealistic. The norm would be for us to trek over Waterloo Bridge in the dark and the cold, queue outside Walkabout for 30 minutes, enter a half-empty room, and stand around listening to middle-aged DJ’s play bad remixes of all the songs we used to love for the next five hours. Londoners know the drill.
To top this off, my voluntary sobriety (no real reason, I just don’t want to drink), apparently excludes me from being able to enjoy activities beginning after 10pm and ending before 5am. But that’s only when we assume that the activities existing in this time-frame are clubbing, drinking or going to bars.
I actually hugely admire those who love a bit of late night antics at Fabric or Ministry, leaving me with a constant FOMO and a slight tinge of self-hatred. I desperately want to get excited about pre-drinking around a table, normally in a half-cleaned flat kitchen, queueing, paying, queueing again, and then leaving three hours before my lecture starts with the same air of excitement the night began with.
But frankly, I’d rather be watching Louis Theroux documentaries until 4am.
On a serious note, my adverse attitude to all things drinking and clubbing created problems in my first weeks of uni. I didn’t join sports teams and I hardly left my room for the first five days, afraid I’d have to address the complicated issue of my perceived “antisocial” behaviour – which in-turn caused me to suffer huge emotional problems in my first weeks until I nearly dropped out all together.
This didn’t end up being the case. I found that one of my flatmates doesn’t drink either, and no-one thought any less of me because I wanted my eight hours sleep. Frankly, as long as you don’t dampen the mood – and there’s no reason why you should (I still attend pre-drinks till 10pm) – your social life shouldn’t suffer.
I’ve learnt what you lose in wild nights out, you gain elsewhere. Sobriety and my poor club attendance enables me to eat steak instead of Pot Noodle, ice-skate at Somerset House at Christmas, and take weekend trips with my flatmates – not to mention that I’ve seen every film released since September.
I’ve spent around 136 days living the “student life”. Two nights I’ve chosen to club, both of which have swiftly ended by around 12am. Either I’m a bad omen, or maybe I just haven’t given it a good enough shot. Either way, I’m happy as I am.