There is more stuff to do at university that does not involve drinking
I have recently come across a BBC article about students that seek alcohol-free halls for their first year at university (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45171571). I then realised that, in fact, a lot of university students in Britain do depend on alcohol for social events, or simply to get rid of the awkwardness upon meeting other people.
Everyone knows that in order to keep a society going you have to do many events to make your society known. One of the greatest marketing ideas for any society is putting FREE PIZZA in your society’s event. However, one of the other ones, in Warwick, is a circling event (although, must I say, RIP circling). Although a fun event to watch and play, circling is indeed one of the events that are marketed towards the drinking sort of people, leaving the non-drinkers in a bit of a disadvantage.
Here are some tips for anyone (drinker, or non-drinker) to know if you are in the mood for some socialising at university without having to have a pint on your hand.
Don’t think that because you are in an alcohol-related event that it means you HAVE to drink: my first tip is not going to be ‘Don’t go to alcohol-related events’, because then, yes, you might miss out on a good night out with potential friends. However, I don’t suggest making yourself uncomfortable just to fit in. Trust me, those people that you are with don’t care if that glass that you are holding is rum and coke or just normal coke. Fair enough, you might get a comment such as ‘Come on! Just one! I’ll pay for it!’, but just say no. They probably won’t even remember the next day and you will save them a few bucks. Plus, going to these types of events makes you feel part of a community. As the night goes along, people tend to grow closer and closer, which does not happen that often in other events.
Find societies that adapt to non-drinkers as well: although a lot of societies do drinking-related events, this doesn’t mean that all of them do, and this especially does not mean that all of the events will be like that. I know that Cocktail Society accommodated for someone who was not drinking and they sourced extra ingredients for the non-alcoholic versions of the cocktails they were serving. Furthermore, Warwick is a top ten university, and Warwick students tend to excel in conferences and summits made by societies. Try to get involved in them, go to workshops, talks and society meals, so that, if you really don’t want to go to those nights out with the society, at least you will be an active member in other factors, which, I think, are more rewarding than going to Neon!
It’s okay to have friends that drink, as long as they don’t make you uncomfortable: we all know that one friend that keeps on insisting that we have one drink. And it’s okay to explain to them that you don’t drink. Sometimes it is nice to show people that actually, you don’t have to drink in order to have fun (I know, shocking, but some people think it is a necessity in order to bounce off to the tunes at Smack). I have a friend that never drinks, and she is fine!
All I have to say is that, if anything makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. It is not worth it. People won’t stop being friends with you, and if they do, they weren’t worth it in the first place. Remember why you did not want to drink in the first place and stick to your decision if you think it is the right one.