What university is like if you don’t drink alcohol

Dry January is for the weak

Whichever uni you go to, the drinking culture is overwhelming but it’s also a crucial part of the experience. Those regretful nights out to the nearest (and cheapest) club are a right of passage…but what if you don’t drink?

You’re always asked why you don’t drink

If my hijab wasn’t a dead give-away already, having to explain to someone I don’t drink can leave them both confused and intrigued which, more often than not, can lead to awkward questions such as “is it an oppression thing?” (cue the eye roll).

Many people will have different reasons for not drinking be it religion, health or simply taste, but what never goes away is the apparent need to justify your reason for choosing not to.  Within the first few weeks of uni, choosing not to drink can prove to make your experience quite different.

You don’t really go clubbing

Not going out to bars or clubs with everyone else is a regular occurrence. The pressure to drink can sometimes become uncomfortable and it makes it difficult to enjoy the experience with friends.

Invitations to come along to nights out are awkward to turn down; who wants to be around a rowdy bunch of drunk twenty-somethings while they do anything and everything with incredible zeal that they’ll probably regret? Although it could be amusing, not being involved makes the experience boring. More so because you’re not the slightest bit tipsy in order to ignore the shoddy location and creepy clubbers.

It’s really hard to be social in Freshers’ Week

With Freshers’ – ultimately a week of endless drunkenness – attending any social events proves to be a quest to find a quiet spot and watch everyone else have fun whilst waiting for time to pass.

You have to make a real effort to make friends

It’s not so much the drinking itself but the social aspect that makes not drinking difficult. Bonding with friends over crazy drunk antics and fresher’s stories is one way first years bond at the start of the year. By not drinking with everyone else, it can make it a lot harder to get to know everyone when they’re all completely bladdered. Often, it’s the daunting prospect of talking to people without being intoxicated that can be too much for some students.

Much better than a night out clubbing

You swap booze for food

Us sober soldiers will claim our 40 per cent discount at Pizza Express as an alternative to going out to clubs. Plus, we actually remember what happened (an experience many students cannot comprehend) and the only hangover we’ll have the next day is from the food we’ve gorged on at nearly half the price.

So for those of you struggling with Dry January, spare a thought for the rest of us who don’t drink at all – because if anyone knows what it’s like, it’s the sober squad.