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Articles > Student Life December, 12, 2015

Not drinking at university – impossible?

Sarah McHugh
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University – where your social life comes alive, right? Well in some cases, wrong! I recently started at Queens University in Belfast. I was so excited about starting University, and like my friends, I was buzzing about freshers’ week but boy was I disappointed! Walking from the main building of Queens to the Students Union the street was alive with nervous, though clearly excited, first years along with a number of promoters waiting to hand out what seemed to be a never-ending supply of advertisements and offers.

At first I approached many of these promoters with great anticipation to see what offers they had in store for us students. I’ve never been one to say no to discounts or even better, free stuff! But after the first few promoters I had given up. Each time I was handed a leaflet I looked at it disappointingly as I realised it was another offer for, yep, you guessed it, alcohol.

Boy drowning in beer

Do you have to be drowning in alcohol to have a good time at uni?

‘Buy one drink get one free’, ‘get in to the Stiff Kitten free for two weeks with this token!’, ‘excellent drink offers, £2 cocktails!’, ‘get a free drink at Eg’… need I continue? Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink. Promoters for Box, M Club, Stiff Kitten, The Bot, they were everywhere! My friends took many of the vouchers and leaflets with great excitement and were quickly planning where they would go each night to get the cheapest drink. As for me, I put most of it in the bin.

I’m not a drinker. Yes that’s right, a student that doesn’t drink! So, what about me? What was I meant to do over fresher’s? Sure I could still go with my friends and just not drink, but, there’s only so many times you can enjoy being the ‘sober friend’ who has to look after everyone and make sure they get home safe after drinking themselves into a state.

I know University students have a harsh reputation for being alcoholics and drinking more than they study. I now know why. It’s practically forced upon us! There’s nothing wrong with going out with your mates for a night out and having a few drinks, I get that, it’s just not my thing. And I know there’s other people out there who don’t enjoy going out to the pubs and clubs and drinking, so what about us?

Well, never mind, I thought, the Students Union has activities planned as well, these are just promoters trying to get customers to their bars, there will be plenty for me to do over freshers’. Wrong again! What did the Student Union have organised? A pub crawl! Aw well, that’s just one event, I thought, there will be others. And of course there was. What about the Freshers Ball? I was very excited for this and couldn’t wait to go, but what did it turn out to be? A glorified drinking session!

I have to admit, by this point I was losing hope, but then it was time to join clubs and societies. I immediately signed up to the history society, as I’m a history student, and awaited the first email with information of the first meeting. And what did the first meeting entail? A trip to the Speakeasy Bar! Aw well, maybe they will organise some good events. And what was the first event? I bet you’ve guessed it, a pub crawl!

So, it seems to me, the only thing that people seem to think us University students enjoy is alcohol. Well I know in many cases this may be true, in fact it’s definitely true. But what about those who don’t drink? So we may be a small minority, but we still like to have fun. And they wonder why so many Students spend more time drinking than they do in the library. It’s all that’s offered to them! It’s always there, so they aren’t going to say no! But us non drinkers have very few activities planned for us.

There seems to be no activity you can get involved in that doesn’t involve alcohol. And I don’t know about anyone else, but in my own opinion, I’m sick of having alcohol forced down my throat, figuratively speaking of course. I know this view probably won’t be shared by many others, but if the universities want the reckless behaviour of students to persist, then they should carry on the way they are going – with drink being promoted everywhere.

Originally posted Aug 30th 2014

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  1. Lucy N

    I often feel very excluded or boring in social circles for not drinking alcohol. I think that the problem is not only our age (and the countless promotions at uni) but also our culture. I think that the UK tends to have a huge drinking culture overall. After all, aren’t we stereotypically famous for pubs?

    I can see the attraction of drinking alcohol. I hear from many that it can make a person feel better at ease in social situations, which sounds like Heaven for someone with social anxiety. But it becomes apparent that it’s incredibly common to have ‘one too many’ and end up spending more time in the bathroom than initially planned the following morning. I definitely don’t see the attraction in that. I don’t want to drink alcohol because I feel pressured to, I would want to drink alcohol only if I want to; and I don’t.

    My university has done well to include other activities outside of Fresher’s Week regularly such as sports, quiz nights and societies of interest, although Fresher’s was quite similar to yours in that it was mostly clubbing or partying. I felt like a miserable bum most of the day, wishing that they could have at least arranged for some sport taster activities during the actual Fresher’s week.

  2. Peter Ashton

    Well this is probably an unpopular opinion but I have absolutely no desire to interact with other people just for the sake of doing so; I don’t drink and never feel pressured to do so because the only time I leave my room aside from studying/eating purposes is to go to a society (which people don’t drink at).

  3. Sarah Mchugh

    I must say, when I wrote this article, I didn’t really expect many people to pay attention. I thought it was just going to be an unheard rant, I never expected to get so much support and agreement! I’m glad there are actually people out there who agree with me. As i said in the article, i see nothing wrong with people going out and having a night out with a few drinks and i don’t always mind accompanying them. But i don’t understand those who go out almost every night just to get drunk and try to force me to join them when i have my own personal reasons for not wanting to do so. I never expected such a reaction to this article and I am very pleased with the kind words that I have received and I am happy to see I am not the only one. As sad as it is to say, so much of University life does, for many seem to revolve around alcohol, but it would be nice if some of the events, clubs and social gatherings were not centered around drinking. But again, this is just my opinion. I know some people like and enjoy it but its not for me. I don’t think drinking should be promoted as much as it is in University, I think that is part of the problem. But each to their own, if thats how people wish to spend their time, fair play to them, I just don’t get it myself…

  4. Hannah P

    For the past 2 years I’ve just kept myself to myself as eveyrone else drinks and I don’t but when I suggest doing anything remotely sober I get shut down, ignored or they change there mind at the last minute to go out clubbing or stay in because they are too drunk to get out of bed instead and I’m bloody sick of being put on the back burner. Im not a push over and won’t do anything I’m not comfortable with. After the stories I hear after a night out I’m glad I don’t drink. No one is worthy of a friendship if they judge you for being different or sensible.

  5. Bethany Taylor

    I’m off to university and I’m in the same boat – I’m a non-drinker and I’m dreading being surrounded by drunk people. I’ve been talking to my flatmates on Facebook and, guess what? They all drink! They’re already planning drinking games and its been decided we’re all going out the day we move in. Honestly, all I want to do after moving into a new place and meeting new people is curl up in bed, not play babysitter!

  6. Grant

    Great read, I completely agree with all your points. I rarely drink and really can’t understand the appeal in spending money to harm your body by getting drunk, being sick etc and then forgetting it all. Most people I know who do this simply follow the crowd to be involved and they say they do it to “socialize” when really it isn’t socializing at all. I’d much rather go out for a meal, take part in a sporting activity, have a games night or go to the cinema but there is too much emphasis on drinking these days, it’s sad really.

  7. Hannah

    Oh my goodness I’m so glad I’m not the only young person that doesn’t drink! I’m going to uni this summer and am really nervous because I’m just not interested in getting drunk, but I don’t want to be labelled as that girl who doesn’t socialise. I’d rather save the money because I just can’t be bothered with it. Hopefully I will find some people who are the same.

    • Kirsty Macleod

      I’m going to University in a couple of weeks and I don’t drink. I’ve been quite concerned lately about how I’ll be perceived amongst my peers: I don’t want to be looked on as anti-social or square, but then again, I don’t enjoy losing all my inhibitions all in the name of a ‘good time’, so it seems like a bit of a lose-lose. Freshers is a worry because, as you said, all the focus is on alcohol in some form or another. Wish me luck!

  8. Kate Philo

    I think…this girl is a very clever independent person who did well not to get into the drinking culture that seems to surround a lot of uni’s i really hope she keeps to this and gets on with her work

  9. Craig Tyler

    Personally, I find that most people I know drink alcohol and go out partying because they want to ‘fit-in’. I don’t believe in doing things you don’t want to do so refuse to take part in anything just to ‘fit-in’. I do drink alcohol, usually a glass of wine with my meal and perhaps a sherry in the evening or a little scotch if on a golf course but I would never drink alcohol to ‘fit-in’ and in most cases (people I know at university) they do just that.

  10. Alicja Walendziak

    I cannot agree more. It seems like if you’re vaguely mature and responsible, freshers week isn’t for you. I think I will spend mine drinking tea in my room. If anyone is interested in being my friend, they can go ahead and speak to me. I won’t chase people.

  11. Claire Thackray

    I’m a mature student at university, turned 26 last month, and I very rarely drink and absolutely never go out clubbing or to the pub.
    Believe me, it’s possible to get by and so long as you make decent friends who are able to understand that you don’t enjoy it, then it’s fine.
    I have plenty of fun with friends even if they are drinking.
    And regarding it being forced upon you I have found people attempting to force you and attempting to provoke you by being rude about it. Those kind of people you just don’t need in your life.

  12. Elizabeth

    I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. As a non-drinker I’m also finding it quite hard to connect with my housemates, as they all use getting drunk as a way to connect to each other. Without this, I feel like an outsider. There are very few things offered at my university that don’t involve socials where the aim is to get as drunk as possible. something needs to be done to combat this culure in universities.

  13. Jack Staples-Butler

    Sarah, I have posted before but I wanted to state clearly that this is one of the best articles I have seen on OpinionPanel this year – please keep more coming as I really think you have struck a nerve here. With this many comments, I think we’ll have the numbers to build a new Straight Edge movement of sober people who enjoy doing things other than ‘hang out with the living dead’. Well done on the article and all my best for future ones from you.
    Jack

  14. Hamza Ahsan

    I think…it depends on the moral and ethical rules you make yourself, and for most it really matters on your religion. if you are willing and determined enough no one can change or stop you from doing what you want 😀

  15. Rebecca Wood

    As someone who will be attending university in the coming academic year, the idea of being drunk for a solid year doesn’t really appeal to me. Sure, I will have the odd night out to make a few friends, as that’s one of the main reasons I’m going to uni (apart from the course, of course), but at the end of the day, I don’t want to fork out (or be in debt as will be my case) £9000 for a year of drinking. Plus, from what I’ve heard, your student loan doesn’t go very far, and I wonder how many of these drinking obsessed types actually have money left over for food.

  16. Jessica Boyce

    You could try arranging your own ‘non-drinker’ society, they have them at my university, so you could plan all the cool activities you want to do, and have fun with like minded people that join 🙂

  17. Megan Gillmor

    Even as a young teenager everyone saw drink as this magical thing which made you cooler and seem older, we’ve been brainwashed to think that if we don’t drink we must be boring and unsociable, therefore we lose the friends that go to the pub week after week, we can’t help it if we don’t by choice or don’t like the taste or throwing up or as a student just don’t have the money!

  18. Melody Crafer

    As a non drinker myself I was rather worried before I started at university last year, as I was anticipating exactly this sort of problem!! However, for my accommodation I opted for a quiet and female only flat and got just that, with only 3 of the 14 girls who actively drank/went out clubbing!!!!

    Another bonus at my university (University of Reading) is the RUNDM – RU Not Drinking Much society which actively promote and encourage not drinking with at least two events a week such as movie nights, game nights, external trips etc!

    Therefore, I think I have been very lucky as I have made several close friends who either don’t drink or only drink very occasionally and we still have plenty of fun (why go out clubbing when you can watch Game of Thrones and eat pizza!!!! Lol! 😀

  19. Spener Maclean

    I dont drink and dont plan to drink at university. Peer pressure is something that individuals need to learn to overcome. People need to become more confident with their own vaues and opinions.

  20. Beth

    I don’t drink and went I was at college it wasn’t a problem but as soon as I started uni it become a massive issues with my friends and flatmates forcing me to drink.

    But the way I think about it , I have more money and can afford to go the cinema and pay my rent whilst friends are moaning about how they have no money and cant afford to buy food but somehow they can afford to go out drinking 5 days a week.

  21. Bex

    I am student and a non drinker too, I am lucky I have found a friend in my hall who does not drink either so we stay in and watch DVDs and drink tea, especially on a Wednesday night

  22. Jodie Davies

    I’ve barely drank at all through my three years of university and I am so much happier for it! I’ve saved so much money! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a drink on special occasions like my birthday or new years, I enjoy the taste of my favourite drinks, but I don’t see the point in spending loads of money on going out clubbing, having to pay and entry fee in a place with generic club music blaring that I don’t like, sticky shoes from spilt drinks (expensive spilt drinks!) and then getting in at stupid o’clock thinking about how much I’ve wasted my night. I’m much happier to have a night in with a take-away and films and stay al lovely and cwtched up!
    Plus from housemates that I’ve lived with (and had bad experiences with may I add) I’ve seen what a mess they are and it’s disgusting. Turning up to uni still drunk sweating out vodka. Taking days off because they’re hungover. Injuring themselves when drunk. Waking me up at stupid o’clock shouting and screaming, playing loud music, when I have to be up early to teach the children at my work place.
    I’m not a typical student I know, but i’m so glad i’m not like those people too! 🙂

  23. Hafza Mohammed

    I think…if your muslim u just dont drink

  24. Richard Heap

    I am at uni now, personaly I drink a bit but not a lot. I asked to be on an alcohol free floor in accommodation, and my best friends at uni don’t drink so it isn’t a necessity. We still have fun without alcohol.

  25. obilo emmanuel

    I will be going to uni soon but am happy that am not a type that drink alcohol…

  26. Natasha

    I am so glad to realize i am not the only non-drinking university student! It seems that so many people are, and they are so well catered for that i really feel like a freak sometimes just because i don’t want to drink. I was really lucky to find friends at uni that are like me, or at least don’t drink too much and don’t want to just go out to get drunk. I just hate that people really judge you when you tell them you don’t drink, and expect an explanation. I have a friend that keeps worrying about me, just because i don’t drink. One of the societies i have joined has quite a few non-drinkers, so i love going to their socials, because there is no obligation to drink or explain yourself.

  27. laura powell

    I feel your pain freshers was a massive let down! although if you find a good group of friends it is possible to educate them to a life that doesn’t include clubbing or getting rat faced!! 😀

  28. Paige

    God, I know right? Everyone just buggers off to get sloshed and I’m seriously worried about a dear friend at another university who may or may not be becoming an alcoholic – he’s never drank so much in his life. I can’t be bothered with it, I don’t enjoy it and yet that’s seriously all there is to do! I am glad for the Internet and PS3.

  29. Aaron Law

    I really did think I was one of very few people who felt like this. One of the main reasons I decided to live at home was the social pressure. I do not have money or time to waste on drink and drunk people really do annoy me. Brilliant article. I do very little outside of uni as it is all geared towards alcohol.

    • Namejosh Stundon

      I felt the exact same in university. I spent six years at university, doing an undergraduate degree and a masters degree and much of the focus was on getting wasted every week. It’s not much different here in Ireland. When I was in first year especially people would ask me many times why I don’t like drinking but my answer was always the same. It’s simply because I don’t like it. I am also fully blind as well so I think it would be really dangerous for me. (I have a screen reader as well that reads all my messages for me)

  30. Jane

    This aritcle is practically the story of my life! Pub golf, bar crawl, ring of fire – all that people at uni seem to live for is alcohol, and it’s really sad to see that. I have been tempted to draft ideas for a ‘non-alcoholics not-so-anonymous society’, because as Sarah rightfully said, it’s forced down our throats. But it’s really great to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t drink or like the sound of waking up the morning after with a hangover and not remembering an ounce of what happened the night before. Great article Sarah, kudos!

  31. Tolu Oluwadare

    There was me thinking I was the only one. I can fun without alcohol so this isn’t often a problem for me except like you said when everyone else is drunk, it just becomes awkward. Since fresher’s week I have joined a lot of societies where I have lots to do so I really doesn’t concern me when my flatmates go out everynight. I seem to be the one with the most money, how strange.
    Beside I have more time to study! Thats what we came to uni for right!

  32. Matthew

    I am a fresher at University of Gloucestershire and like-wise don’t drink. During freshers week i was busy getting to know the local area and securing a job. In the evenings now i get involved in local community groups and go to CU on campus. In terms of going out there’s things like salsa dancing, movies and theatre. Volunteering is a really rewarding way to spend some time and looks good on any cv! Plus by not drinking and staying in night clubs til 5am, I get to have a clear head in lectures.
    Try viewing not drinking as a positive life choice guys n gals.

  33. Zaynab U

    I totally agree with this – not only are non-drinkers left to twiddle our thumbs but we’re socially shunned because of the fact that we want to stay sober. My halls offered a freshers ‘welcome’ week package which included touring the local uni clubs, I didn’t find that particularly welcoming. I’m not particularly sporty either so there isn’t much I can get involved with..

    • Kaycie

      Whoever wrote this, you know how to make a good aritcle.

  34. Rosey Stonehouse

    This resonates incredibly highly with me too – I don’t drink for a number of reasons and often find it hard to be around people who are drinking, but have found that it has definitely limited things that I can get involved in. It’s such a shame that drinking and going out seems to be the be-all-and-end-all of University life, and is often all that people seem to talk and think about. There’s no doubt that more activities which don’t involve drink should be organised and promoted just as much as others.

  35. Andrew

    I didn’t think there would be so many others that go to University who don’t drink… it’s kind of encouraging to see! I find it difficult too to make friends when the social activity of choice always seems to be drinking… though it seems to me that’s because there’s not actually a great deal else to do, and some people ask others out drinking as the default option, even if that’s not really what they wanna do!

    I find the ideas of joining societies pretty intimidating, or joining in sports clubs etc… All those things are a whole lot easier if you already have a friend to go with already. I always hopes University would be great fun – a chance to join a martial arts club for cheaper than ever or swimming or whatever. But reality is quite different.

  36. Natasha Wilkinson

    I’m a student and I’m a mum. I’m a young mum at 20 with a 2 year old and in a long term relationship. I find not drinking or having that time to drink/constant evenings out is like an exclusion from a social life. I hope to find a group when I start uni in September who I can relate with and have fun with. I do drink on the very odd occasion like my birthday i’ll have one or Christmas but its nothing at all regular

  37. Sikhangezile Ncube

    I don’t often feel that excluded either but I completely agree that there’s only so much of one thing you don’t necessarily enjoy that you can take. I just don’t like the idea that having fun has become the socially accpeted and defined as going out at night and getting wasted.

  38. Hannah

    I am not a drinker either and certainly felt like it was forced upon me. During freshers week in a flat party everyone was playing drinking games and then there was me sitting in the corner drinking J2O on my phone. During freshers week i went out every night to make a good impression on the new people I was meeting but eventually got bored of walking my flatmates out of their heads home and putting them to bed because I was sober. I have not been out clubbing since then- it’s really not my cup of tea and very much out of my comfort zone, although an experience i am glad I took part in (which is one of the reasons for joining university), but completely feel like everyone thinks I am the most boring person at university because I would rather watch a movie in bed or go to the pub on the weekend to watch football than go out getting smashed. I joined drama to gain more confidence in myself but their socials which they have at my university for every club is a pub crawl finishing at a nightclub until the early hours. I am still yet to find anyone who does not drink and am still yet not able to tell people that i do not drink without them scrunching up their faces as if I had told them I loved them

    • Polly

      Hannah I’ve had pretty much the exact same experience as you – I’ve joined quite a lot of societies including musical theatre, and ALL the socials involved going out and getting wasted. I don’t mind occasionally going out clubbing with my friends and not drinking, but it becomes so monotonous – I want some variety to my social life! I’m thinking of starting a society that organises sober socials, and provides a place for like-minded people to meet, but I have no idea if there’d be any interest… I’ve only met one other non-drinker so far!

  39. Jade Cho

    I couldn’t relate to you more. For us non-drinkers, it’s a struggle to find even one Fresher’s event that doesn’t involve drinking. And I believe that it’s quite true that this drinking habit is being forced onto new university students. Often times, I find myself thinking, what are my chances of socializing with others if I choose to not drink?

  40. Lauren Hymas

    I don’t drink at university and luckily my flatmates in halls have accepted this but I know many flats where the members are excluded from activities as they don’t drink, I think this is unfair..
    As I have always been told you don’t need to drink to have fun 🙂

  41. Larissa Butler

    I completely agree with this article. Not drinking at Uni feels like it immediately excludes you from a bunch of activites. I don’t feel able to join certain clubs because I know it is literally forced upon you. It’s a shame.

  42. Chantal Gage

    I find your article very interesting. For some reason, many people I have spoken to are under the impression that the first year is the least important one and you can “binge-drink” your way through, hence the cocktail flyers…

    To be honest, I believe the attraction to alcohol varies from course to course. I am studying fashion at UCA Rochester and even without my job there would still be too much get done to even think of having a sip of expense.
    I do drink once in while, but that takes place at home on my beloved sofa during the holidays. I don’t have the time, nor the money – in fact I’m not even interested in getting drunk /getting alcohol in my system these days.

  43. Rachael

    Well said! But I have found a way, I do archery, meet all the people there, and then don’t go to the drinking socials!! 😀 however the maths society doesn’t seem to do anything else but drink, infact they seem to be on a mission to prove that all maths students aren’t square and so have to go out drinking alllll the time! There is no hope! :/

  44. Riona Donowho

    I thought I was the only one, I am not 18 yet and tbh not a huge fan of going out and a lot of the societies do pub crawls. I am not that sporty eother so not much else I can do!

  45. Steph Dean

    I’m going to uni in September and i’m not a big drinker, im worried i’ll be forced into drinking, any advice?

  46. Olivia Lalude-haworth

    This is so true! I’ve just started at Oxford and I’ve found that, for a place where people are supposedly passionate about learning, there’s a lot of mid-week drinking going on. During Freshers Week our college JCR organised a pub, a club and an alternative event every night – it was a nice idea, but sadly no-one ever turned up to the alternative events because it wasn’t cool enough. It was also a shame for those who put in the time to organise these events. It took me a while, and I found the first week quite difficult because I don’t like excessive drinking, but I found three or four friends who also don’t. We decided to get together for a pizza night to avoid the post-matriculation pub crawl; slowly people began to find out what we were doing and there are now 19 of us who meet regularly to watch films, eat pizza and not get drunk. Some do like to drink but much prefer our group, others have never drunk alcohol in their lives. But we are united by our desire to actually remember our time at university! So there are others out there, it’s just a case of finding them.

  47. rachel arnold

    I live in a house with 3 guys and another girl and the girl barely drinks at all when we go out (she doesn’t come with us an awful lot), but she doesn’t seem to have fun either… On the contrary, one of our friends doesn’t drink and he always has a great night out and isn’t even tempted by drink. He’s rarely pressured as everyone is understanding that he doesn’t want to drink, which I think is important.

    You don’t need to drink to have fun!

  48. Jack

    This is a brilliant article! I must say, I thought I was the only one! Freshers week and generally all of student life is centred way too much about drinking with fliers coming through the door every day for where to get the cheapest drinks. I have not found a single social or sports club that doesn’t include a pub crawl or a night dedicated to drinking games! Everyone complains that drink is a big problem in the UK and it’s obvious why, it’s just a shame there isn’t more for us to do because I feel in some way rejected being 18 and not drinking. I’m glad others feel the same way as I do 🙂

  49. Simon de Lecq Marguerie

    Whilst I am a student who will quite happily go out and get rather inebriated, I do understand the frustration that people that do not drink must have. One of my best mates hasn’t turned 18 yet so misses out on a lot of social activities due to the locations (pubs and clubs) so she’s struggling to penetrate some clubs that she really wants to be a part of. It’s a shame so much emphasis (especially so in first year, in my humble opinion) is put on drinking, as a lot of people will miss out on the experience

  50. Jason King

    I don’t drink either and feel totally left out of almost all University/Fresher Activities. At 34 and a non-drinker, apart from sport, there are no activities or initiatives which don’t involve drinking. More money wasted on a Student Union even though Edinburgh is saturated with pubs. All I hear from Tom Zanelli is DRINK DRINK DRINK, Club and Pub Nights. Younger students will feel the pressure to drink to be involved in Uni life and to gain friends, great for a University to promote this type of behaviour. Less DRINKING and stop spending our student money on Unions, pub crawls and club nights.

  51. Sarah Dunstan

    I compleetely agree with this article. I’m in my Second year at Manchester Metropolitan University and absolutely hate drinking. I found there were no activities offered to me in my freshers year and this is still the same in my second year. Luckily I have friends who now accept that I don’t drink and so are willing to do other activities with me. I think I’d be very miserable at university if I didn’t have them.

  52. Shona

    Couldn’t agree more. I don’t drink – as a result, I rarely attend organised ‘socials’. They just seem to offer different ways to get ‘smashed’. Even with other events on offer I wouldn’t go out every night – that’s just not me – but I hate the fact that non-drinkers are barely even considered. Student committees say that they cater for those who don’t drink but actually, they just mean ‘you’re welcome to come along and watch while the rest of us drown our sorrows’. And I just don’t find that fun.

  53. Keziah

    I had exactly the same experience over freshers and so far through 1st year at Kent. All that seem to be on for students is clubs or bars, not that I don’t like them, but there really are only so many times you can be the sober one… Hopefully some uni’s will take note?

  54. Andy

    Totally agreed, I don’t drink and refuse to bow down to this society which often expects us to drink. As you said – I have no problem at all with people who do go out drinking, but I’ve experienced people seeing ME not drinking as being a problem! I think most people just do it to fit in, whereas us as a minority remain true to ourselves!

    • Totally agree with Andy! I see many people drink (who otherwise wouldn’t drink) due to peer pressure, and I just find it sad. I don’t mind people doing as they see fit with their bodies, but if you start forcing alcohol down my throat i’ll probably tell you to sod off.

  55. Autumn

    Couldn’t agree more, I’m a non-drinking student also. Was worse for me as I lived in halls and was shunned as not being part of the group who went out every night and vomited all over our corridor in the morning. Nevermind, I have a job to go to instead which gives me a reprieve from university life.

  56. Jack Staples-Butler

    Spot on! My thoughts exactly – if there were more of an effort made to cater to alternative tastes, there would be less compulsion to go out boozing as the only social activity. I recommend for Article of the Month!

  57. Conall Mason

    do not speak to me if your not the first to go to the bar and the last to leave it
    Ya can’t take money to the grave… get it spent on alcohol ta fuk

  58. Emma

    I’m actually quite nervous to go to University for this very reason. I like being in complete control of my body otherwise I feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed. This means I stay away from alcohol in order to be fully aware of my surroundings. However, some people don’t understand this (a few of my past friends stopped being friends with me because I didn’t want to drink with them) so I’m kinda panicking about uni. A few blogs and vlogs I’ve been reading/watching seem to really highlight drinking as a necessity (freshers week/ making friends etc.) but I really don’t want to?

  59. Le

    Universities seem to be not an education institutions nowadays but evil dens! i’m devastating to see your immature child getting into drinking in order to fit in….It’s impossible to comprehend how universities including the best ones as Cambridge and Oxforrd encourage drinking and buiding all social life around heavy night partying! It’s disgusting and unacceptable! Can somebody stop it please!

  60. Gareth Rafferty

    Hi, I’m going to Derby University in September. I am similar to you and don’t drink and don’t like the environment. What did you do during freshers then if everyone else was drinking? Did you just say in your flat?

  61. Connor Reilly

    yep… well just what I expected… hopefully this isn’t a big deal for me.

  62. Tony Chan

    I wouldn’t say it’s totally impossible; choosing to drink or not is a decision you make yourself, with or without any influence from others. Like if your friends are going out and invite you along (hopefully), you should not feel the urge to have to drink just to simply fit in, instead, just order some coke or water and chat to them like normal

  63. Yi May Emily Chan

    Before university, I have never tasted alcohol before. ever. Not that i wasn’t allowed to (I mean i could always sneak a sip right?), but it was because I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel the need to compromise the health of my body for a sip of this illusive, adults-and-mature-people-only drink. But when i moved to Newcastle (the party city of UK), I suddenly felt that compromising my health and my principles wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. Because the new equation of this deal with alcohol was: Alcohol = Friendship, Fun and Networking.

    Well. Still thinking about this! Haven’t made my final decision on alcohol yet.

  64. Katherine Butler

    I don’t drink because I don’t like the taste and also don’t like the aftereffects. I feel this separates me from groups a little so I still go along to drink with my friends, but will order a non-alcoholic cocktail (if they do them) or a lemonade/hot chocolate. It’s important not to be forced into drinking, there are those that drink and those that don’t people have to understand that or they’re not you’re friends.

  65. Sayma Begum

    Im a Muslim so i dont drink ever anyway lol but yeh i agree with what you said, i think some people may have peer pressure into drinking, which is so sad. Its like the only way for having fun is drinking, which is really stupid if you think about it. Lots more way of having fun that that.

  66. Ellen Woodward

    In my opinion I feel you should be able to do what you wish without the added judgement whether that be drinkers being judgemental over non drinkers and vice versa. I do agree there should be more activities aimed for everyone to enjoy (sober trips). I myself drink and would like to go on historical, fun and exciting trips that don’t include alcohol! however I did go sober for a while in uni and found it quite easy to enjoy myself at parties although there was a lot of peer pressure to give in so I agree there should be more events for the people who want to remain sober out there!

  67. Heidi Joll-fields

    I’m starting uni in September, and don’t drink, this is something that I’m very worried about. I hope to find some people there who share the same views as me. This article was good to read as a look into the future.

  68. Chelsea Peter

    When I hit uni, I will be that person that is staying in, not drinking! I’m not a great fan of it and it is very rare I do consume it – it’s just not me; I don’t like it! I do worry about my social life when I go to university because what do you do when everyone else is throwing up in the streets and you’re sat alone in your room with a book? Of course it is healthy to go out every once in a while, but if you don’t drink, then what? It’s good to know not everybody is obsessed with drink…I doubt the popularity will ever reduce, though, whether it is a uni’s fault or students’. We’ll see.

  69. Charlotte Worsley

    I’m at the point where exams are coming up but whenever alcohol comes up as a topic and I say I don’t drink noone ever seems to take me seriously. My family sort of laugh along and say ‘you won’t be saying that after freshers week’ and ‘you’ll get used to it’ but to be perfectly honest if I think this now I doubt I’ll change my mind in a couple months time. It’s just frustrating trying to stop friends and relatives from trying to get me to drink so I’m undoubtedly a bit worried.

    I guess I can try and trust in the fact that there’s a lot of people like me that don’t drink, and as long as I have decent friends I’m sure I’ll be fine, but I can’t say I’m not a little concerned…
    Do people realise you don’t have to drink to have fun?

  70. Christopher Mulheron

    I think… It’s definitely possible to go to university and not drink alcohol. The only issue with doing so it’s having a good, possibly even take excuse as to why you don’t or can’t drink. I suspect a couple of people I’ve met have done this… It’s just suspicious to me that several people I know have become allergic or been told to stay off alcohol by their doctors. I’ve seen time and time again people being harassed into drinking alcohol and ive seen this same people fail uni.

  71. Ella Mcallister

    I think…there is a lot of pressure to drink and it’s difficult to say no. Anyone can get drunk and do stupid things. It feels great! I don’t drink any more, after a stage of drinking way too much I’ve decided it’s time to give it up!

  72. Alex Irwin

    I think… that it isn’t impossible if you are as strong minded as Tim Peak

  73. Samuel Maylett

    I don’t drink alcohol anymore, for about 3 years no drinky. I get lots of work done now :-p

  74. Tayo Omole

    Honestly, I think its up to ones will power and believes. If you set yourself out to not have a wasteful college experience getting wasted often you probably won’t drink. It also cuts down to the type of friends you keep as they would often tend to be your main influences.

  75. Asfandyar Solang

    I have good self-control, I have fended off smokers for years trying to get me to start smoking so I can get more “involved” in their group. Though I have smoked and might smoke another cigarette in the future, I don’t consider myself a smoker because I have never ever bought a pack and go months without a cigarette. It’s only an addiction if it interferes with your day to day activities. So i’m not scared of drunks i might face in uni. I’ll proudly be the designated driver. 🙂

  76. Shaurya Taksali

    Its agreeable to say that drinking in university is part of our social norms although there are some who don’t wish to be in part of that. Drinking would mostly depend on the culture’s norms as well, as in some places it is seen to be normal whereas in others its forbidden or looked at negatively. Students who do not want do drink should not be seen as a minority, there are events in university that mainly encourage alcohol although those students should persist at their own wish which will raise awareness of the so called “minority”.

  77. Becky M

    I don’t think this is the case at my uni (Bangor), while I admit the history society I am a part of here does do a lot of drinking, we also do a fair amount of daytime activities, one of my flatmates can’t drink (liver problems) and he seems to have a more active social life than me! As far as I know he is a part of at least 2 societies (Frisbee & Assassins maybe?) and has made several friends in the flat who go out of their way to plan activities that don’t involve alcohol, but I suppose that can be accounted for by the difference between unis and good luck when it comes to flatmates, I do hope that you find a solution for this problem yourself, though it could just be meeting the right kind of people.

  78. Minzy Garawi

    great article!

  79. Dan Streeter

    You have don’t have to go out every night and get destroyed like a ‘LAD’ to make friends/have a good time. It’s a cool idea to drink but maybe don’t spend like £40 on a shit night out at a terrible club with some friends you don’t really like. Save your money for a decent night, maybe once a month or something.

    Uni has a bad reputation of young immature humans drinking/not doing any work. The young people of this country need to start growing up and being more thoughtful about what they’re REALLY going to university for. The ‘LIFESTYLE’ come on……do you really need to spend 9k a year just to live the ‘UNI’ lifestyle which in all honesty is pretty lame anyway.

    It’s ok to get mashed, everyone loves it but don’t make it a thing just because you’ve just moved out of your parents house to become ‘independent’. You’ll get much more credibility throughout life for being responsible and mature about such things.

  80. Jaimee-Rose Allen

    I do think it is disappointing, my boyfriend is an International Student from China studying in Manchester, he and I aren’t drinkers and we tend to drink only for special occasions. When I go to his dorm, the halls are full of empty cans, take-out spillages and leaflets advertising £1 drinks on selected student nights. Its a mess, the kitchen is loaded with cans, bottles and the floor is sticky from left drink spillages, he and I always find ourselves cleaning up after the other residents mess. It is also upsetting that he came to the UK hoping to make more English friends (hence why he is dating an English, not a Chinese regardless of the fact, and I hate admitting it but many beautiful Chinese girls there. At the start of his year, he went out on a pub crawl twice and hated it, it was loud dirty and made him feel uncomfortable; the guys he was drinking with were okay with this and did try to encourage him to drink more, after the first year he still didn’t enjoy drinking and to his disappointment found the guys he thought were friends cut off contact with him for the simple fact they find him boring to his lack of interest in drinking.

    I don’t mind people drinking and students enjoying the feeling of drunk as well as the night life, but it is getting tiresome now. Every time I message my friends they are hung-over or cleaning the vomit from their heavy drinking. I think this over use and advertising and student nights would be more tolerable if these where considered:
    1. The students are more considerate in their dorms, not everyone in the halls have enough free time to drink so they shouldn’t play loud music that is booming through all nearby rooms. They also shouldn’t go out heavily drinking just to find they left their flat key at their dorm and has to wake up everyone in the flat at 4am by continuously knocking on the door.
    2. They actually cleaned up to their mess, the amount of times I have cooked for my boyfriend and opened the bin to put wrappers in the rubbish to find vomit, as well as walking on smashed glass that has been spread all over the carpets by lazy drunks.
    3. The Uni itself didn’t encourage such heavy drinking, yeah freshers is the typical way to make/meet friends but don’t make that the highlight of going to Uni, I have 7 friends who dropped out-of Uni after just 1 year because they thought it was more drink than study, until it all caught with them along with the countless hangovers.
    4. Like shops do with cigarettes, advertise the issues that constant heavy drinking can have. Such as alcohol dependency. the uni should put these in the bottle they sell on the grounds.

    If you’re not a drinker and/or don’t enjoy clubbing, you will be excluded and not able to enjoy all of what Uni offers.

  81. William Cawley

    I have no idea why universities actively promote drinking as surely we are there to learn/study not to get drunk every weekend? When I was at university it was near impossible to go out drinking as it was based within Guildford (so average £4-5 for a pint). There are plenty more fun and social activities out there that aren’t based around alcohol in which Universities could promote, but apparently it’s best to get hammered and not remember anyone you meet in freshers week…. I also doubt the majority of freshers aren’t aware of the mental and physical health affects of alcohol.

  82. Jamie Jones

    As someone who has applied to uni for September 2016 entry, the university open days are the base problem cause for drinking. Each university open day I have attended has always influenced the idea of student night outs and the idea how there freshers are the best around. This obviously brings in the hidden topic of alcohol, as each university will tend to give discounts towards students drinking within there own personal private bars, therefore if the individual is intending on not drinking, then this is a hard job because of the major influences that people receive even before they have stepped one foot into the university environment. I do feel that also the social factor and ‘fitting in’ is another problem with new people arriving at university therefore the odds on avoiding alcohol are very slim.

  83. lucy ufuah

    I think that if you do not drink, there is not a problem lol, I don’t drink and it not that deep, You don’t need to feel excluded or whatever whenever u go out, my friend suggested that u buy the cheapest beverage on there and just leave it on the table. or infact you don’t have to stunt on anybody for anything, do you love, you don’t have to please anyone.

  84. Megan Mckenna

    So glad you wrote this! I am going to Uni in September and am concerned about the whole drinking/night club culture. I do drink alcohol but never for the motive to get drunk – it just doesn’t appeal to me. I just like a glass or two with a meal or as an evening alternative to coffee with a friend. Great to know there are others who are not fussed by excessive drinking, hopefully if enough students mention it there may be a change – or at least we can identify each other and band together to have just as much fun without the alcohol!

  85. Adnan Hussain

    I think…it depends on you as a person. if you are the type who likes getting drunk then yeah go for it, but if not then there is no need. it all depends on the person but yes i can see why offers get people excited.

  86. Bethia

    I completely agree, university shouldn’t be all about drinking as there are many other ways to have fun. I haven’t been to university yet but I don’t think I would mind going to the events and just not drinking as it is just a personal choice and not everyone is the same

  87. Kathryn Croom

    I’m heading to university this year and this is probably my biggest worry, but seeing people in the comments make me hopeful that I might be able to find a group of people who are happy to socialise without getting drunk 🙂

  88. Ben Burton

    How often do most people spend on average clubbing compared to lecture and study time , I have recently applied to university and am wondering how big greatly this topic actually affects the ability to study

  89. Baaz

    I’m going to uni this year (hopefully) and I have no intention of drinking. I believe that if you really don’t want to drink, you won’t. You’re friends should not force you to drink as it is a choice whether to or not. So yeah, I think it’s possible to be there and not drink.

  90. Taylor Green

    I think…It annoys me when people think others are lying when they say they don’t need alcohol to have fun! I never drink and I still have fun, but to those people I must not be enjoying myself, and nust just be pretending. I wish there were more activities where you didn’t have to drink, but it is our generation that for some reason LOVE to drink. Sure, i’ll have a drink once in a while but I won’t go out and get hammered every weekend. It’s stupid and dangerous, and honestly, I would rather sit in with a nice film, where it’s safe and warm.

  91. Taylor Green

    It annoys me when people think others are lying when they say they don’t need alcohol to have fun! I never drink and I still have fun, but to those people I must not be enjoying myself, and nust just be pretending. I wish there were more activities where you didn’t have to drink, but it is our generation that for some reason LOVE to drink. Sure, i’ll have a drink once in a while but I won’t go out and get hammered every weekend. It’s stupid and dangerous, and honestly, I would rather sit in with a nice film, where it’s safe and warm.

  92. jasmine poyner thomspon

    I think a lot of people use ‘drink’ to help them mix and associate with people on their first few weeks of university.

  93. constantina Hadjipericleous

    well I’m not at a uni at the time but i agree with you, all my friends studing are having parties all the time. well uni is a place to study not getting wasted but you also want to have fun with your friends and socialize with the other students . I’m not drinking a lot but once in a while i enjoy it ….!!!

  94. Oliver L

    I agree entirely. At my Uni there is nothing at all organised for people who don’t drink. And going to the SU bar is absolutely no fun for someone who is sober, getting trodden on and elbowed and covered in sweaty people and thrown drinks. So I stay in and get called a loner or a bore.

  95. Asim Jabbarli

    Well, Actually I think that the social life is not dependent to alcohol. I have several arguments and one real life example to express my opinions.
    First of all, we should apply that it is not rule that “if you are not drinker you cant be one of us” but it is stereotype.
    Secondly, choosing true friend is also one of the important point. If your friends are not drinker but, you can waste your time interesting and beneficial.
    It is in mind, I have 2 friends which doesn`t drinking alcohol. However, me and my other 4 friends (classmates) are drinking. We had always good memories and social life since 3 years. We don`t care to “who drinking? who not” The important point is to be happy with friends

  96. Sophia

    Drinking is what you do to be apart of the crowed,to show that you can handle your drink, some young people just to see the outcome,I feel that everyone can have fun without drinking, we all have fun everyday and we are not drinking.

  97. Stella Ten

    I’m so agree with you. And it’s not only about uni, that’s also about colleges and schools. I’m studying in private school, where most of the seniors are getting drunk every weekend. That doesn’t seem right for me because I don’t like alcohol even though I can take some champaign at New Year time. I’ve tasted most of the types of alcohol which are more popular and do you know what? It tastes absolutely disgusting for me!
    However there is also a problem in our generation. In the previous century it didn’t seem right for children to drink, even taste alcohol. Nevertheless now it seems so fine, that nobody really care about that.

  98. George Davies

    Self control is a great skill to have but only a true friend would accept who you are for what you are.

    P.S I don’t drink and you’ll find you can still have a great time with your mates. You also don’t get a hangover so that’s a plus.

  99. Anna Carlyon

    I feel that many individuals are getting the wrong idea of university due to how extreme the social life can be, some individuals need to balance their study and income before splashing out at the Union.

  100. Sarah

    I think…we are slowly being conditioned to believe that an absence of alcohol means the absence of a good time . Being with people and having a fun experience you can actually remember is second to how much can you chugg in a night.

  101. Casper Davis

    I think.. not drinking in the university is actually possible depending on a persons mindset. its obvious the campus and university as a whole is full of lots of people with much influence and the rate of socialism is that much so you cannot just decide not to hangout with people, but i believe there is always a limit to everything a person does. so the solution here is just you as an individual, what dreams do you dream? what goals have you set for yourself, what do you aim at achieving?. these alone should be able to distract you from hanging out and drinking.

  102. Christopher

    I think that we are too pressured to drink in uni and i don’t have many friends because I don’t drink, the societies are all well and good but most of the socials are drinking and if you don’t partake you get somewhat alienated from the group, today is my birthday but because its a Saturday all of my friends are trying to pressure me into going drinking something i don’t want to do yet despite me saying this all of them are still going, this leaves me feeling a little depressed as it means that the culture of drinking themselves into oblivion is more important to them than me despite the fact i have invited them over for pizza and a film so its not like i expect them to just sit with me doing nothing.

  103. Amina

    As a muslim student Ive pretty much come to the conclusion that it’ll be hard to make friends that arent muslim and hand out with them because all they do is drink

  104. Chloe Rocks

    Being a QUB 1st year too, I know exactly what you mean! I even get it from my family too!
    I like to go down to Maggie Mays for food, go to Movie House or Oden for a movie or even just go for a walk around the city with my friends! I’m away doing things like that at least 3 times a week, yet I keep getting told I need to go out and get rote off!

  105. Mohamed Shakir

    I think… no it’s hard

  106. Shelley Hemming

    It’s not impossible to not drink at uni but there is a lot of pressure too. I’m on a sports team and we had people join who specifically join a team because they had never drunk before and wanted to start. As a social group we all drink together and look after each other but would never pressure anyone to drink. It’s a choice in life that only that person can make. I personally don’t drink a lot so can understand if people feel they have too but in that case they should choose who they are with very carefully. Not everyone is a friend if they’re trying to pressure you into things.

  107. Jahrin khan

    Me and my other several flatmates do not drink, and we are all from different backgrounds but we can still enjoy ourselves just as much, our social life is fantastic

  108. George Wenman

    Its certainly not forced upon you, but it is a temptation on a night out that you do learn to overcome

  109. David Shaw

    I’m in uni and I live at home so I don’t drink really. I went out for one night during freshers with new friends and drank. I don’t mind alcohol and I like clubbing, so for me it was a way of spending time and having a laugh with new friends.

  110. Justice Aboagye

    I don’t drink but nothing is impossible once you can discipline yourself enough. Especially at the uni stage.You’d expect that by now people would’ve become peer pressure proof.

  111. Charlotte Hunt

    I don’t drink because I don’t like the taste of alcohol and because I’m vegan and some alcoholic drinks have honey and other stuff that I can’t eat in them, so it’s easier to avoid all alcohol. I also have started university this year and a few of my friends tried pressuring me into drinking but once I told them why I don’t most of them were cool with it and left it alone, others not so much. I think it really just depends on who you’re friends with

  112. Natasha Jones

    I love alcohol but this article definitely opened my eyes to how others will be seeing freshers.. Maybe that movie night wont be too bad :’)

  113. Emily Cottrell

    I’m so nervous about this because I have a ridiculously low intolerance to alcohol (seriously one sip makes me want to throw up and it knocks me out for like a week). Is there such thing as being allergic to alcohol??

  114. Vuctoria Bye

    Brilliant article! I thought I was possibly one of the only young people going to university with a dislike for losing myself in alcohol,a little is okay, but not excessively, and I’m so glad others share this view, I was getting a little worried about fresher’s week and all the alcohol that was going to be there, but knowing other people are in the same boat as me makes me feel better. Besides, if you tell people you’re drinking vodka and coke, who’s to know if you have a couple of plain cokes in between the next vodka??

  115. I wouldn’t say its ‘forced upon you’. I think it depends on the university you go to. Keele university have tons of volunteering opportunities

  116. Ross Walker

    Its all about being responsible, there is nothing wrong with drinking but its about knowing when enough is enough and when you should drink and when you should not.

  117. Pheonix

    Its pretty sad thats what school has become.. Parents slave away years sacraficing just so thier child “might ” have a chance at a future.. Well little do the parents know that the 100,000.00 they spent on thier childs education went towards thier childs drinking habit.. Yea i wont EVER be sending my daughter to any university.. Colleges n trade schools that actually focus on the career n learning are pretty much just the same n sometimes more better n take less time towards getting the degree n cost 90% to 97% cheaper than glorifyed self avdertised universities ( which mind u its another way to say party school) yea and NO.. I want my child to have a future not medical problems at an early age.. Multiple dui’s n a long list of other things.. Yea i want my daughter to get ahead in life not follow the rest of the brainless only thinking about fun n partying herd… She’ll have better priorities than o where is the next party.. She have an actual job working in her career making double digit thousands a year.. Have her own home with no debt n her own car n a good life that she earned cuz she focused on her career.. Not like 99% of her age group that will be unemployed shit scrapers in a fast food joint .. Cuz thats where 99% end up .. Fat unhealthy unemployed non career drinkers ..yea real appealing? NOT… But hey theres alway the drink specials n the $50 bar tabs to keep them company lol.. N just think they can make thier family really proud as they puke in the parking lot or pass out on a street bench… Wanna know what society calls people like that..? Bums.. Lmao.. Yea n usually these people end up waisting thier lives away n ending up on the streets n ull see them on the side of highways with signs will work for food.. Or better yet ull see them with the rest of the bums under the bridge drinking out of paper bags n sleepin in the trash pile.. Yea hope they manage to find food scraps in the mc donalds dumpster lmao

  118. Leanne Bettis

    I think it depends on where you go university and the course that you are on. I agree with what your saying as im studying Public health and Social Care at UCC and I have never gone out drinking with mates from there. Although that might have something to do with the fact that thwre are a lot of older people on my course. however when I go and see my friend who is studying education at Greenwich university, I always end up going out drinking and a lot of her friends do too, although hers are of a younger age group.

    Age has a lot to do with this here I think. I think unfortunately drinking appeals to young people more than mature students and some universities perhaps tend to forget about the mature students.

  119. samuel burgess

    i was not much of a drinker before university and i understand your comment about drink being almost forced onto you, however i have made a lot of good friends and memories through drinking and nights out, although i don’t see the need to drink as much as some students i do believe it part of the experience

  120. Marta Klimkowicz

    Before I came to the university I was a bit worried that everyone around would drink like crazy. And while it remains true for many people, I was surprised to see how many non-or-little-drinkers we have on campus! First, someone asked this question on a facebook group and there was significant response. Then a couple of non-drinking people got together and came up with and idea of setting up a society. It is in process of being made official, which would allow us for example to rent rooms on campus, but even now it works pretty well,functioning just as a group of people who communicate on specially set facebook group and meet up in pubs on campus to spend some quality time together – talking, playing pool, eating cake etc. I think it’s really great – not only does it show that us, non-drinkers, actually exist in significant number, but also allows us to get to know people like us and hang out in a manner that suits us. So if anyone feels all alone as a non-drinking person – you’re probably not right. Just have a look around, facebook groups for students of particular university seem like a great place for it, and you’ll probably find some people like you. And than setting up a society or just keeping in touch in a less formal manner could allow you to get people together and get involved in some fun activities.
    Having said that, I’d like to add that so far I’ve never felt preassured or mocked by drinking people or anything like that. When I was going out with friends I knew, I still could have some fun. At the beginning of uni, when I didn’t know anyone, it was a bit harder, I felt a bit left out, but it’s not like people minded my non-drinking. So yeah, it might seem like studying is all about drinking, but if you have a closer look, you’re almost sure to find that yes, not drinking at uni is possible and can still be fun.

  121. Iestyn Grills

    Im teetotal and have been for 10years so easy peasy for me

  122. Seesee

    You guys are all expecting ‘activities’ to be ‘prepared’ for you. You are not children! You have to make stuff happen for yourselves. Expecting too much from other people and complaining when it’s not all laid out in front of you WILL lead those who drink to think that you’re a) boring, b) immature and c) not sociable – which is how you’re acting!! Find a hobby – something to DO. There are clubs and societies for every sport and pastime at every Uni. If there isn’t, start one. High expectations and complaining get you absolutely nowhere.

    • Julline L

      “High expectations”? It should not be classed as a high expectation to want to have alcohol-free activities.

  123. Anna Hills

    I have a feeling that when I go to uni I’ll be the one having all night monopoly games in onesies, which to me sounds far more fun than getting hammered every night! For one thing you can actually remember it the next day…

  124. Jesse

    Same here. I’m a little bit tense around drinking on top of all of this, so it’s even more alienating. People pin drinking onto every event as if it would be boring without.

    Want to go see a band? Why not do it while drinking! Want to go out and dance? Dancing is only fun with drinking! It’s like ads trying to use sex to sell everything. I just don’t understand it at all.

    If only everyone in this comments section went to the same school. We could organize movie nights and go skating and have dinners and dances and fun events together. I’m in my first year of University, halfway through the second semester, and I still haven’t met ONE person who doesn’t drink.

  125. Nora Gurung

    although I already drink a lot that sounds terrible, especially because I thought I’d drink less and do more other stuff. Now I’m super scared

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  127. Olajumoke Olatunji

    wow i thought there’d be more to uni life than drinking… wonder if it’ll be the same when I go in september :/

  128. Lily

    I can completely feel your pain. i’m in McGill and it’s the same thing 🙁 My roommates think if you don’t go out to party then you are an anti-social person. I’m not, I’m just so tired of the drinking scene. I love socializing just as much as they do, or even more. I know a lot of people around the campus because i’m actively involved in lots of student sociaties. but what do they do for socializing? drinking a bar or going to a club.

  129. Chloe Palmer

    I completely agree! As a non-drinker myself, I am dreading starting at uni this September! Even now, at parties I seem to be the one allocated to looking after everyone when they get into such a horrendous state. That’s not what I want my life at university to be like! I don’t want to have to be responsible for everyone, just because I don’t drink! Don’t get me wrong, I do still enjoy the majority of parties and events I go to, but eventually it just gets too much!

  130. Glen Donaldson

    Totally agree with what you said , I’m a non drinker and it’s true I can’t go a day without someone trying to get me to go out and drink or give a leflet to go to some pub and get cheap drinks.

  131. Zaskia Antelo

    yeah it seems quite impossible not to drink at uni ):

  132. Hayley

    Great article – I think the non-drinking students are becoming more apparent nowadays. As a non-drinker myself, I would always go out at uni and just have a diet coke instead of adding alcohol to the mix, and have even on occasions told people there was alcohol in it to avoid the persistent questions of why don’t I drink. I think it needs to be more widely accepted that an ever growing number of students just don’t like the drinking culture that comes with being a student, and should be proud to say “I’m not drinking because I simply don’t like it.”

  133. Benjamin Liddell

    I couldn’t agree more.

  134. Hi Everyone…

    On the topic of the worrying trend of other activities being replaced by excessive alcohol consumption, some of our research for Alcohol Concern was recently featured across the news.

    It suggests that the low cost of alcohol, promotional offers and alcohol advertising are key factors in promoting binge drinking among young people, to the exclusion of other activities. For instance, it can be cheaper to buy 3 litres of cider than to go to the cinema.

    You can read more about it here: http://www.opinionpanel.co.uk/community/2012/11/22/alcohol-concern-releases-hard-hitting-report-on-youth-drinking/

  135. Sam Chau

    many people drink and is promoted a lot, it still doesn’t you can’t hang out with your friends, the real friends do not care if you drink or not.

  136. Thea Moody

    My uni put on a sober freshers week with things such as a theatre trip and a roller disco! I must admit though, now freshers is over there aren’t really any activities that don’t include alcohol, but as someone who drinks that doesn’t bother me. I do think it’s a shame though, not really fair. Maybe in second year you should promote a sober freshers week for people in the same boat as you! (:

  137. George King

    Agree with every single word of this. Almost needless to say I guess, but I too am a non-drinker and have had my fair share of people trying to force alcohol upon me. To the point where I have become a little apprehensive of saying the words ‘I don’t drink’ sometimes when I meet new people because that’s often been the cue for 10 minutes or more of having to try and ‘explain myself’. I always try really hard to make it clear that I accept other people’s choice to drink, but sometimes, when you get little acceptance coming in the other direction, it can be hard. Whilst I don’t really care for clubbing (really bad music and alcohol is not exactly my favourite combination), thankfully I do enjoy going out to rock music gigs etc, else there would be very little for me to do.

    Can’t say I’ve ever seen any event in any society/student union directed at non-drinkers and this is wrong, but as it seems we are the minority, what can we do?

  138. Nat

    This is such a good article and I agree! I used to drink until I saw how horrendous and stupid that I was when I was drinking! I used to get sick and be awful! I never attended these uni socials as they all seemed to consist of people getting smashed and doing silly things when smashed. Problem is, people don’t want to know you when you say you don’t drink.

  139. Chris Fisher

    Don’t drink to excess, drink small amounts in private if I can’t sleep, I can’t see the point “In lets gets drunk, it’ll be sooo funny lol.” Personally people acting that way, makes me more opposed to being around them. Wouldn’t be so bad I suppose if half the students actually could drink instead of some watered down piss mockery of whiskey with coke. I just ignore them and hope they go away or die choking on their own vomit either is better than being around them.

  140. Kingsley Uzoma

    Being a drinker or not, does not mean that, what happen in University outing or club is all about drinking, but if you’re a student that knows your limit of alcohol intake, I don’t think that there is wrong in taking alcohol why catching the fun in Uni. like I, my self, I can be satisfied with my reading at a particular time and decide to have some fun but it must not go with alcohol… i like club because, when I’m in the club, I take alcohol to my limit, and keep friends that are not drinkers as much. always know why you are in the university.

  141. Olivia Cresswell

    I don’t drink either, I found some people don’t know their limits. But if you surround yourself around those that do, I found this helps! Luckily my flatmates understand why I don’t drink and I don’t feel uncomfortable with them at all. In regards to being the “sober friend” I don’t think i’m responsible for carrying my drunken friends home. (Not that I would leave them, but in principle – it’s not my fault they drank too much!) I’m not a huge fan of clubbing, but I love rock bars and venues and I always have a good time there even though I don’t drink. I study at Nottingham Trent but my hometowns in Leicester and they have a bar called Hakamou’s. They serve ‘mocktails’ (sometimes in a coconut!) it’s a little expensive, but it’s better than having a boring j20! But I do agree there should be more promotions for those that do not drink.

  142. Seb

    Totally agree. I don’t drink at all either. Another question, that has crossed my mind, is why is drinking so hugely promoted by the student unions and societies right at the beginning of uni? Surely this sets an awful precedent, which will negatively affect studies during following years?

  143. Adam Little

    I agree with what you are saying, but what do you plan to do about it?

    I gave up socializing with ‘normal people’ long before University, so the situation where almost all of socials are alcohol based was completely expected. Not that I am saying it is ‘right’ but there is an element of ‘well duh’. There is too much promotion of alcohol and how alcohol is the only way forward and yes it is not fair, and yes ‘we’ are excluded because of it, but when choosing to go to Uni it is something that one accepts as part of ‘Uni culture’. In the laziest of responses, “life isn’t fair, get used to it” comes to mind. Again, don’t get me wrong, i do agree.

  144. Kate

    As a fellow non-drinking history student I feel your pain. My experience with our history society was much the same as yours, one thing that springs to mind was a trip they organized to go to Kent to see something (I’ve forgotten what). Predictably they were far more excited over their planned pub crawl afterwards. Again I had the same experience with freebies and leaflets during freshers week and ended up giving everything away. Thankfully my friends are understanding about my aversion to drinking so I don’t get nagged about it but still it’s slightly maddening not being able to attend most events because they’re glorified booze-ups.

  145. bethan

    I feel the same, but now as a 4th year student have got used to it and know how to avoid it. I have been quite lucky with the first year getting into a flat of non-drinkers who i stayed with till they graduated. But also being sporty has given me an excuse not to go out because of training and also given me a bunch of friends outside of uni who dont expect me to drink all the time. Its all about learning where and how to deal with people. like with my friends on my course who drink i will go to there pre-drinks for an hour or so then just go back to my flat. but everyone is different and its about learning what is best for you as an individual!

  146. divina matondo

    I think at uni is when you become a proper adult and you will be revealed tto things you never knew before and drinking is one thing people do at uni especiall when it comes to freshers and your surrounded by other students who will be drinking too so it is quite impossible to avoid drinking

  147. Przemek P

    That depends, if you are strong enough to do what do you want it won’t be a problem then. I don’t know how it looks like yet cause I’ll start uni this year but I’m a bit scared if that what you wrote is true

  148. Anon

    Join the islamic society! Life is more enjoyable when you have your senses intact 🙂

  149. Natalia Lemanska

    When studying abroad in USA, being under 21, living in residence halls, they have planned activities for us such as: arts and crafts (making picture frames, tie-dye shirts, decorating common areas, etc), walks around the campus, baking, playing board/card games, watching movies. I felt like an 8 year old doing all that stuff without alcohol. It was frat parties where I felt at home.