Off to uni and don't fancy a tipple? Check out our tips for being a non-drinker in a student world...
Uni has a bit of a reputation for heavy drinking and if you don’t drink much, or at all, you may feel a bit like the odd one out. But you’re not alone! The TSR community has lots to say about not drinking at uni, how to deal with judgmental ‘friends’, Freshers week and peer pressure.
1. Be upfront about it
If you tell your potential friends that you don’t drink when you meet them, or when it gets brought up, you can avoid the situation of being offered or bought alcoholic drinks. Telling your friends and acquaintances early means you can avoid feeling awkward about declining drinks, or feeling obliged to drink something that someone has bought for you.
2. Alternatively, don’t tell people
If you don’t fancy getting into it, then don’t tell others that you don’t drink. By the time people start to notice, they'll probably have had a few drinks, and it's unlikely they'll remember when they’re nursing hangovers the next day. If you've spent a bit of time with them at this point, you might also feel comfortable explaining it to them at a later time.
3. Check out your uni’s non-drinking events
These can be specifically non-drinking/ sober events, or just activities which don’t usually include drinking: quiz nights, coffee mornings, sporty activities and more.
4. Join a society
Meet others with similar interests by joining a society. It will be fun and give you a shared activity to do together which doesn’t revolve around drinking.
5. Don’t be afraid to say no
If necessary, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. If someone is badgering you to drink or is judging you, tell them you don't want to discuss it any further and that they need to respect your choices. Remember, you don't need to explain yourself or justify your decisions to anyone - just tell them to mind their own business!
A short term solution to avoid getting into why you don’t drink is to make something up. If you’re offered a drink, you could just “No thanks I just had one”, “I don’t fancy it tonight”, “I’m hungover”, or something similar. Don’t feel like you need to be ashamed, however.
6. Accept that some people may be annoying (and ignore them)
Some people may not accept that you don’t drink. Ignore them. There may be people who act like your not drinking personally offends them; they’re not worth your time.
7. Don’t bow to peer pressure
It may feel hard if everyone around you is drinking, but try not to give into peer pressure. Good friends shouldn’t be pressuring you to drink anyway, so if they are then think about whether they’re the type of ‘friend’ you need in your life.
You'll spend a lot of time with your friends, so make sure they're great ones! If someone makes you uncomfortable about your decision to not drink, or only ever wants to hang out with alcohol involved, consider whether they're the type of friend you need.
Uni is a time for learning and enjoyment- and you certainly do not have to drink to experience the latter. Share and discuss your tips & experiences with not drinking below with fellow students!