It may be strongly associated with students, but is going out, drinking and getting drunk really the key to a good night out, or can you still have fun sober?
Yes, says Brooke Charlesworth
I was 14 when I had my first alcoholic drink. My Dad had thrown a party, and I’d been allowed to invite some friends. We sat on my bed, alcopops in hand, giggling and trying to cover up our apprehension. I took a sip of my drink. It tasted horrible, and left a burning sensation in the back of my throat.
Downstairs, men and women were swaying about, flirting, dancing terribly, planting clumsy kisses on the lips of people they’d only just met. I pushed through the crowd, horrified. At that moment, I knew I never wanted to become like them.
That was the last time I drank alcohol – and it’s been the most liberating decision I’ve ever made.
I’m not saying this is the way to be; I’m just saying it’s an option. Unfortunately, it’s an option which most university students don’t even consider, as peer pressure and the fear of being shunned take over.
However, many of my friends didn’t even realise that I don’t drink alcohol until we were several weeks into uni. I like to think that I’m sociable enough not to need the confidence boost which alcohol provides.
One advantage of being teetotal is that I don’t break the bank every time I go out. Soft drinks are often half the price of alcoholic ones, which means that I can afford to do things I do like, such as clothes shopping and eating out.
I also don’t feel as guilty when eating unhealthy food, as I save calories by not drinking alcohol. (Did you know that one pint of beer has the same nutritional value as a cheeseburger?)
A lot of people think that not drinking means not going out but there are plenty of alternatives.
I’ve been playing the guitar in pubs, bars and local venues since I was 14-years-old, and would rather go to a gig than a club any day. It seems logical to me; would you rather pay to stand in a crowded room, drink in hand, with music so loud that you can’t hold a conversation, or chill out at a free acoustic open mic night, chatting to your mates?
I understand that it would be naïve to try and persuade people to think like me. Students will always be students, and to most people, drinking will always be ‘the norm’. But maybe it’s worth a try, giving up alcohol even for a week – for your mind, your body and your university marks. You never know… you just might like it.
No, says Dan Denman
This argument is had so many times over the three years that you’re at university. To sum it up, yes, you can have a good night out without having a drink. But you can’t have a great night without a drink. How many peoples’ stories when you came to university started with ‘we were in a club drinking Coke…’? Simply none.
When asking friends in a pub if they thought that you could have a good night without alcohol, one person replied, “there is an old saying; there are two things I can’t stand: a drunk person when I’m sober and someone sober when I am drunk”.
When you come to university everyone drinks, it is a social thing and nine times out of ten helps you meet people who you otherwise probably wouldn’t have. When you’ve had a drink you’re less shy, and therefore beer is a social lubricant.
Drinking, whilst it does have its downsides, has many positives too. As Frank Sinatra once said: “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day”.
When you go out on a night out, what’s the worst that can happen? You could end up having sex with someone you just met; most couples you meet hooked up blind drunk anyway.
Everyone at university has drunken stories, most you’ll never forget. By drinking on a night out you make yourself more calm and relaxed, and as is everyone else, making it a better night out for you.
Drinking has become synonymous with student life. When you thought about university before you came, everyone will have told you about the nightlife. Drinking is much more than a pastime at university, it’s a rite of passage to get drunk as a student: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”Tweet