I’ve mentioned before that I can’t (and have no wish to) drink alcohol. My acid reflux conveniently saves me both money and the prospect of hangovers. But being sober and a fresher at university is really a bit difficult at times.
The thing is, most of the difficulty really just comes around in social circumstances. Doing an English and History degree, it can be a relatively lonely subject – lots of reading, lots of independent study and essays. So, obviously, the solution would be to participate in social activities.
Except – clubs aren’t fun when you’re sober.
Pub crawls aren’t fun when you’re sober.
Being up until 5am in sticky rooms with a load of grinding strangers isn’t fun when you’re sober.
And, unfortunately, all of that seems to be an integral part of student culture. It’s a little hard to keep up with all the people who ask you on a night out and you refuse because you know exactly how it’s going to pan out. It makes it a tad difficult to meet other people. Pretty hard to relate to other students when you share none of the same experiences, too.
I find it a little hard to believe others when you admit you can’t drink and they tell you “oh, I don’t drink much either” – and then cue six shots, two pints, a cocktail and a mixer or so.
Personally, my idea of a good evening is maybe a meal out somewhere, a film or a good old chinwag, and to be asleep by eleven. (I’m an early riser.) Call me old-fashioned, I don’t care. I’d so much rather have a conversation with interesting people than to be deafened by lyricless music, trodden on, tottering around in painful heels and wondering when this boring night will end.
Honestly, I’m quite a strong-willed person and I’m not afraid to admit it. I have no problems refusing alcohol or not submitting to peer pressure. But it makes me wonder how many people aren’t that strong-willed and only participate in these strange student rituals because they believe that’s what they ought to be doing, rather than what they want to be doing.
Regardless of all that, it would really make a nice change if more socials were about hanging out and making friends, meeting people and talking, than about purposely going out to get hammered. I’m not suggesting that everything should be completely alcohol-free, but to be able to talk to people with some remaining semblance of self would be good. When you’re the only sober one in a group, you realise how boring drunk people can be.