As my previous blog was on friendships, I think it’s only fitting to talk about pressures. These can come in any form, but I believe it important to talk about a variety of social pressures which can really surface at uni. I hope today’s blog won’t be upsetting or triggering, but the following topics can be quite hard.

 

Drink

 

When young people think of the freshers’ experience, they think of being blotto for the week (and getting laid every night). For the majority of students, the first part is probably true. An enormous volume of alcohol is consumed as most students have been let free from home and want to take advantage of the lack of parents. Although it’s important to have fun and yes, a drink or two (or five) can help, it’s vital to stay safe, know your limit (mate, vomming from alcohol is NOT sexy or something to be proud of, I promise you, ew) and not to go tooooo overboard. However, not everyone wants to drink. And that is absolutely okay! If you find that you’ve reached your limit or simply want to give the drinkipoos a miss for the evening, you rock your decision. It’s important to do so for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, only you know when to stop and when you’ve had enough, so that kid in the corner chanting ‘drink drink drink’ has no clue what’s going on with you. You can lessen or even avoid entirely a nasty hangover and give your liver (and skin) a break. You won’t be consuming empty calories (easy hack for a summer bod). You’ll be saving money. You won’t be putting yourself at risk. For those of you who are tee-total, I would like to say well done to you and try to maintain this! It’ll be tricky when peers are urging to just try a little or have one but stick to your guns! That applies to all of you.

 

Drugs

 

Yikes. Drugs are everywhere. You’ve most likely been offered drugs before but they usually prop up in clubs where dealers prey on the young. If drugs are your thing, whatever, but if you haven’t ever tried before, I most certainly wouldn’t! I’m sure you’ve all had PSE lessons on that girl who took ecstasy that one time and died. That could be you. Drugs are such a waste of money and are deffo not worth the stress. It’s tempting, especially when offered by your friends, but I would advise you not to even consider it. It is not worth the risk. Even ‘soft’ drugs aren’t worthwhile. Just avoid them altogether. If you aren’t going to heed my warning, I suggest taking them in a safe environment where help can be at hand, but I really, really want to discourage you all. Even smoking is grim. All those people who say they only smoke when drunk… I don’t get it? Massive turn off, you stink and you’re affecting everyone around you. But yeah, don’t do drugs. Say no. Don’t be a pushover… or a pusher.

 

Sex

 

You may attend uni., having popped your cherry; you may attend with aspirations of abstinence. Whatever your situation, I say, and I can’t stress this enough, do whatever YOU want to do. When you’re out in a club and have had a couple, some sleazy youth might come over. You two may start necking and next thing you know, they’re pressuring you into sex. No. No means no. Too many people have the mindset of ‘oh, I’ve led them on, I have to go through with it’. Absolutely not. What right does anybody have to sleep with you? None. And this is particularly important to remember if you have a significant other. If they’re in the mood and you’re not, tell them to go and have a fun time by themselves tonight. If they managed without you previously, they can still do so. Your body is so, so precious so please don’t ever feel pressured into having sex with anyone. On that note, if you are trying to save yourself for that special person, do so! Who cares if your friend is out sleeping with someone? If that’s not something you want to do, don’t do it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, only do what you feel comfortable with. And if you do decide to have sex, remember to stay safe. Use protection (the pill doesn’t protect against STIs and you can still catch diseases through gay sex) and remember to ask about diseases. Yeah, you might feel like that’s not very sexy, but herpes isn’t either. Plus, you can totally deliver the question in a hot way. Just make sure you’re sure about what you want to go through with. At Warwick, we get consent.

 

Going Out

 

Clubbing is supposedly a big part of the uni. experience, but you may not have the stamina to go out every night. This is particularly true when 1) you have deadlines, 2) you have 9 ams, 3) you’ve been out the last few nights before. Alcohol dampens your immune response, so you are more prone to catching illnesses. This is exacerbated when you’re out in a skimpy outfit and waiting in line to get inside. If you aren’t feeling the club tonight, let your mates know. If they’re proper mates, they’ll try to convince you to come, be slightly disappointed but then they should understand and be cool about it. If you decide to head out, remember to take it easy on the drink, especially if you’ve got that 9 am tomorrow!

 

Skipping Lectures

 

Noooooo, this is the worst idea. Up at Gibbet Hill, we have the glorious Lecture Capture. I believe some lectures on central campus are also recorded, but I can’t be sure which ones are. Stop being lazy and make it to your leccies, people! I remember being in first year and asking my friend if she wanted to walk to the lecture together. ‘Sorry Jen, I won’t be making it, still in bed.’ Ah, I had a choice. Be a good student and trot up that hill or destroy my degree and watch another episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Obviously, I chose the option all you would. If your mates aren’t making the lecture, that’s no excuse for you to bail. There’s correlation between lecture attendance and exam performance. It is in your interest to go to your lectures, seminars, labs, tutorials and all the rest. Get into good habits in first year, because it only gets more tempting down the road, when you have to travel into campus. 

 

Cleaning

 

Hear me out on this one. My housemates are messy AF. It’s a shame, because I can’t stand a dirty kitchen. So, my instinct is to clean up after them. But how will that help? They’ll continue leaving their mouldy dishes, I’ll continue tidying and they’ll never learn basic washing up/dishwasher-loading skills. If you’re a first year, you’ll be lucky enough to have a cleaner (hurrah) but in the later years, it’s unlikely. So, I say to you, if your flatmates are Messy Margret’s, try to avoid mothering them and simply ask whether they might be able to clear their dishes slightly sooner in the future. Don’t feel pressured to clean up after them. Don’t give in!