The misconceptions of being alcohol-free at university
Let’s get this straight: I really don’t like alcohol. It’s the taste. Offer me broccoli and I’ll have the same reaction. Now, it seems more socially acceptable not liking broccoli, because they don’t have a reputation for making parties fun. In today’s post, I’m going to give you three misconceptions about alcohol (I like ordered lists, as you might have noticed…). Is it really possible to be in Term 2 in your final year at uni without having touched the loathed liquid substance that is any alcoholic drink? It sure is. Here is some clarification.
1. Literally everyone drinks alcohol, so you will have to do that as well!
Prior to coming here, I peacefully accepted this idea. I thought: “okay, alcohol just tastes hideous, but everyone will drink and will expect me to do the same, so I can try to have a glass or two. I’ll get used to it.” Day 1 of uni. I’m in the kitchen with my flatmate Jan, who has just gone to welcome reception for his course, with free drinks. I ask him: “How was it?”
“Yeah, very good!”
“Yeah… I wouldn’t know”
“Do you not drink?”
“No. Do you?”
Evening of Day 1. Everyone goes to Fusion Bar with a free drinks voucher. While queuing, I was chatting to my new flatmates and felt absolutely zero pressure. By the end, our table was full of Cokes. It turns out that basically no one in my flat drank. My suggestion is to just be honest – chances are, people are going to be honest as well when it comes to this. Remember that there are way more non-drinkers that you probably imagine.
2. If you don’t drink, you won’t have fun.
How twisted is this misconception? I honestly do not have a problem with people drinking per se, but I certainly have a few things to say to those who think non-drinkers are the ones who can’t have fun, and that you necessarily need to test your liver to have a good time. Back to my flat in first year (who are still my best pals to date) – we had the absolute best time, without a sip of alcohol. In the first few weeks, we really got to know each other and have plenty of fun. And even with other friends who drink, I don’t generally ruin parties (I think).
3. There are no alternatives to a good night out.
Untrue. I was lucky since in my flat everyone was sociable and a non-drinker, so every night we would come up with something new to do in our kitchen. Those were the absolute best nights. We still meet up regularly and have great fun. Overall, there are so many opportunities that will not pressure you into drinking. Last year, after fencing training sessions, we would all go to the pub, listen to the great compilation offered by the Dirty Duck, enjoy Wednesday karaoke, and have a lovely time. Some people had their pints, I had my Coke, and everything was great! Fencing is also the best pub quiz team (Foiled Again whoop whoop!), which we go to every Thursday. I would definitely recommend the Dirty Duck pub quiz – a super fun night!
And there’s plenty more – Student Cinema, karaoke, and you can still go out without drinking and enjoy the life-changing magic of Pop, Skool Dayz, or nights out in Coventry and Leam (which I have never tried and do not intend to, but, you know, they’re there).
You can also venture outside campus and go trampolining, ice skating, laser tagging… I do think these can be way more fun and much more memorable in the long run.
As a final word of advice, I would definitely recommend specifying you are a non-drinker in the Warwick Accommodation form. I remember writing that I don’t drink, but I am sociable and outgoing – and so did all my flatmates! It’s worth being specific there. And once you are here, be honest! Overall, don’t feel pressured – do whatever feels right and you will have plenty of fun.