All universities have a drinking culture. Getting drunk and going out clubbing is a huge part of many students’ lives. Whether you do or don’t want to drink, here are my tips for navigating university drinking culture.
If you want to drink…
Knowing your Limits
When drinking something that tastes good it can be especially easy not to realise how much you’ve had. Try to get an idea of how many drinks you can have before you get overly drunk. The least fun nights out are the ones where you get denied entry to a club. Equally, the best might out can be ruined by a crazy hangover the next day.
Have a Designated Driver or Taxi Money
Never drink and drive, please. Its never worth it. Either arrange as a group that one of you will drive but not drink, or split the cost of a taxi. Pre booking a taxi if you know what time you want to leave is a great way to make sure you aren’t stuck in the cold waiting, and means a black cab won’t try to over charge you. Make sure the taxi driver has the meter displayed, and ask for an estimate cost before you get in.
Eat Before Drinking
And only mix with water! Think pizza, pasta, chips, all a student’s favourite things. By lining your stomach you’ll be less likely to feel ill from all that booze. My pro tip is to make extra so you have something to eat when you get back, and don’t spend too much on a post night out take away. I don’t know about you, but I’m too lazy after a night out to cook, even if its just throwing garlic bread in the oven. Also, by alternating soft and alcoholic drinks you’ll prevent the inevitable dehydrated hangover. (Check out our tips for avoiding a hangover here)
If you don’t want to drink…
Don’t Feel Pressured into Drinking
No is a complete sentence. You are totally allowed to not drink at all, once in a while, or only drink once in your university career. If people question it, ignore them. I’m not a heavy drinker at all (unless cocktails are involved!) and whilst sometimes my friends want me to drink more, I’ll simply tell them no. Your friends will accept it, and if they don’t, they’re not the best kind of friends.
Remember that Not Everyone will Drink
A lot of people won’t drink at university, even if it doesn’t seem it. Whether its for religious or cultural reasons, they’re on antibiotics, or they simply don’t like alcohol, you won’t be the only one. If you aren’t drinking for cultural reasons then try joining a society and find people who are in the same position.
Its Okay to Not Get Drunk- or to Stay In Altogether!
As long as you’re having fun, people won’t notice that you aren’t drinking. When I’m not drinking, I make sure I have a glass of coke or lemonade in my hand so its less obvious. If you look like you’re enjoying yourself then people won’t care if you aren’t drinking alcohol. And if you know you’ll be bored going out, don’t bother! I’m not a big fan of the university student union, so if my flat-mates are going then I’ll stay in and watch a movie. You can spend your time however you want.