7 tips for not drinking during Freshers

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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.

In terms of freshers week, I'd say get involved and try things, not just the nights out but all sorts of activities they have on offer like sports and societies. In my experience, I've found uni to be at lot less judgemental than high school. No one cares what you wear or who you talk to or if you drink. - PollyParrot23

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.

Noone really cares if you drink or not. Those who drink a lot are too drunk to notice and those who don't drink much are often happy to be around others who can have fun without the need to be drunk -Ivory Toast

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.

I've been teetotal for religious reasons all through life, and honestly I really am enjoying it so far! To be fair, our uni caters for non-alcoholic events - in freshers they had a food crawl alongside the bar crawl. - Sherlockedd

4. Join a society

rugby

Just pursue your interests through sports and societies, and I think you should meet people who dont have an issue with that part of you, or are in the same boat. The more I engaged in societies the more I found this, though ultimately I still wish I engaged more with them – QuentinM

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.

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…even if you don't find someone in your halls, the clubs and societies at the Students Union will help you make friends and you can just be yourself without the pressure of having to go out clubbing.The only thing I can say, as cliche as it sounds, is don't worry about it and you definitely wont be the only one -W1LLG4R

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!

I don't drink much at all, very rarely. However, all of my friends are big drinkers and love going out to clubs, etc, where I don't enjoy clubs. On the occasion when I have joined them, I have went along to the pub and had one drink or just went and joined in with their conversations/played pool and then left before they went to the clubs. The majority of them are alright with this as they know I feel uncomfortable and don't enjoy myself at clubs, but some of my other friends try to pressure me into going along with them, and in these cases I just stick to what I want to do and leave and go home. - laaurenshannon

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)

I’ve been tee-total throughout university and I’ve not really had many problems with it. Sometimes people ask “why aren’t you drinking?” and act like it’s a bit weird, but if someone judges you like that and can’t accept your personal decisions, do you really want to be friends with them? Don't give into peer pressure or put yourself in uncomfortable situations, and be friends with those who accept you for who you are. - Dougieowner

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.

As long as you don't let it bother you, no one else will care, just means more alcohol for them at pre-drinks. -iElvendork

7. Don’t bow to peer pressure

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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.

After first year I slowly managed to gain the confidence to say no and withdraw myself from that side of student life, and now when I go out, it's so much more fun as I'm in control of what and how much I drink, and I'm always with close friends of mine who I trust. - Bezoar

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.

I don't drink and I figure if someone were to pressure me over it, they wouldn't be the sort of person I'd want to be friends with anyway. The great thing about uni is how diverse it is and you'll find students that drink every night, students that might have a few drinks at weekend or on occasion and those that won't drink at all (for all sorts of reasons be it religion, health or just not liking it). - PollyParrot23

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!

Want to find out everything there is to know about Freshers? Check out our Freshers Guide 2017!

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