To Be Alcohol-free at University
As I’m sure you know, students over the world are getting ready to start their new academic year – and for a large number of them – looking forward to getting hammered in one of the thousands of clubs hosting Freshers Week events. While the majority of students are looking forward to a week filled with new faces, moving in, alcohol, partying, course inductions and more alcohol, there are a significant proportion of us who may be worried about the first week. One of the main concerns being ‘What if I don’t want to drink?’.
The first thing I would do to curb these fears is provide you with some resounding facts – our generation of students are less likely to consume alcohol than any other age group. In fact, in a UK-wide survey posed to university students, almost half stated they regularly socialise without drinking alcohol and in a study carried out by The Boar Lifestyle, 74.4% of the students surveyed stated they have begun to drink less since the last lockdown. Hopefully, from this you can deduce that if you don’t drink, you are definitely not alone, and will be part of a growing group of teetotal students in the UK. This will make it more than likely that you will not be the only non-drinker in your accommodation, floor or even your flat.
Another key worry for non-drinkers is whether choosing not to drink will affect their friendships and social life. In my opinion, whether this happens or not depends on you. At university, a large number of social events do involve alcohol, however this does not mean you can’t enjoy these events while being sober! If you want to attend pre-drinks and sip on juice instead of gin or want to take shots of chili in place of Vodka when playing Ring of Fire, who’s stopping you? You can have just as much fun by participating in a slightly different way – allowing you to socialise and experience something new without compromising your values. You also shouldn’t need to worry about how other people will take this – and if you feel as if another student’s judging you for these decisions, it’s better to find out your friends sooner rather than later!
Furthermore, universities and societies are actively trying to increase the number of alcohol-free events every year, so if you prefer not to be around alcohol at all, you can still attend many events that are catered for you! Most faith and sports societies hold events in which alcohol is not permitted or plays a very small part of the activity. For example, all of HinduSoc, Christian Union’s and Islamic Society (ISoc)’s events follow a policy that does not permit alcohol consumption, so you can be sure that you won’t be the only one who’s sober! Another example is Warwick Student Cinema – which I can guarantee you don’t require any alcohol for. All our societies want to be as inclusive as possible, meaning even if there is a drinking element to a social, alternatives for non-drinkers are also considered. With over 250 societies and counting, you can be certain there will be socials to attend and people to meet that you can relate to.
If all this isn’t enough, organising events that don’t require alcohol yourself is a great idea to have fun and make friends! Through doing this and inviting others, you’re sure to be memorable and in return get invited to a lot of other events! This also doubles up as a great way to explore what your surroundings have to offer – from laser tag to ice-skating to shopping trips, there will definitely be something that everyone can agree on.
I hope you are filled with a bit more confidence now that whether you drink or not, your Freshers Week and social experience is what you make of it, alcohol or not!