Alcohol – perhaps the most talked-about topic among students. It’s always in the air on campus, pre-, during and Post-Study; but what does its presence mean for those who don’t drink?
Alcohol has been a massive part of my life, and it will remain to be forever. In November 2009, I lost my Dad to Alcohol. An addiction that he didn’t realise drove him to depression and the decision to end his life. He left behind a wife, and 3 young children (12, 10 and 7) with me being the eldest.
After seeing the effects of alcohol from a young age, I made the decision not to drink. This is something I am open about; friends and family around me know and understand my choice, and it’s something that I would be comfortable to share with strangers if I had to.
— OpinionPanel (@OpinionPanelEd) October 8, 2018
Before starting University in 2015, not drinking was something I worried would negatively impact my university experience. Everyone my age talked non-stop about Alcohol – Freshers, Student Nights, Halls – it was always at the top of the list. I was worried I’d be excluded from events and seen as a bore… “what kind of student doesn’t drink ?” or “come on have a drink, it won’t do you any harm!” were some responses I expected.
This was not the case. As I was getting to know someone I would tell them the above, and the reaction turned out better than I expected… “I’m sorry to hear that” … “there’s nothing wrong with not drinking”. It was nice to know I’d still be accepted, but why did I ever feel the need to give an explanation?
“if you’re honest and open from the beginning, you’ll have nothing to worry about”
For me, this wasn’t a problem – I’m comfortable telling anyone, but for some, it may not be something they want to share, or they may just not have a reason. This hidden pressure of drinking is out there, but not often brought to the surface.
In September 2018, I’ll be off to a new University to start a new degree, so of course my worries are fresh on my mind again. However, this time around, I feel more comfortable and open, and I’m looking forward to getting started. If you’re in the same position as I am, don’t fret; if you’re honest and open from the beginning, you’ll have nothing to worry about.