Fitting In At University As A Non-Drinker

Sometimes It’s Easier Just To Agree

When most people think of their college years, one of the first things that will come to mind is the social scene. The nights out, the house parties and the sessions are what stick out for most people … even though they may not remember all of them! For me that is no different, even though I am a pioneer. Yes, you read that right, I am a final year student here in UL and I have never consumed alcohol, not a drop. I’ve never experienced a hangover and I sure as hell don’t want to either. It’s safe to say that I’m a rare breed, especially in this day and age, but I can honestly say that being a non-drinker in college hasn’t caused me any grief. Sure, you’ll always get the “are you on antibiotics?” lark or the “are you driving or what?” and sometimes it may be easier to just say yes.



You Can Be A Non-Drinker For Many Reasons …

My not drinking isn’t for religious reasons or financial reasons or even health reasons – I just know no different. When I started to go out back home in Mullingar, sneaking into the nightclubs at the tender age of seventeen alongside my big brother and his friends, alcohol or getting drunk never enticed me … and still doesn’t. At that time he was playing county football and took it too seriously to even consider taking a drink.Mind you, he’s not county material anymore yet still doesn’t drink. But I don’t have that excuse as me and the word sports shouldn’t even be in the same sentence but I suppose he led by example and I followed in his footsteps.



It Has Its Perks And Downfalls

I soon began to realise that the comfort of driving home after a night out was so much more appealing than waiting in the cold for any grumpy, old taxi man who would always over-charge. And on the plus side, the money I save, I spend on shoes and clothes, so it’s a win-win eh? I also struggle with my weight so I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a fan of the drink … actually scratch that, I probably make up for it with the amount of Pepsi that I consume! The most frustrating part for me – and most people would think it’s the pushing and shoving, but you become accustomed to that fairly quickly – is when the bartender automatically presumes you have a sneaky naggin when you only order a Coke. They are reluctant to serve and almost always make ordering a drink an unpleasant experience, but stand your ground. Another down side is when night clubs run promotional drink offers but fail to include soft drinks, it’s disheartening I know, I’ve been out with friends who’ve got vodka and red bull cheaper than my mineral!



Be Brave And Step Up To The Challenge

At certain times like Fresher’s Week and let’s face it, it’s a very alcohol-orientated time of year, I find myself asking, is it time to start drinking yet? And every time I ask myself this question, which is once in a blue moon let me tell you, I always come to the same conclusion. And that is, as cliché as it sounds, that I don’t need alcohol to have a good time. I’m a confident person, sociable enough to enjoy a night out without being under the influence. I’m also quite stubborn and I like being in control too much. All of that aside, I have found it very easy to cling on to my sobriety, but the college transition was my biggest test to date.



Be Your Own Person, You Don’t Need To Follow The Crowd

If you haven’t taken a drink before and don’t intend to, you probably know by now that in college it’s all about the pre-drinking and house parties and that can be difficult. Most students just want to get drunk before they leave the house and I’m not here to pass judgement, I mean it’s understandable when you consider the price of drink in pubs and clubs these days. But stick to your guns, if it’s not for you then it’s not for you. Be honest from the get go and hopefully, like in my case, your friends will understand and it will become second nature to them too. Believe me, they will stop trying to tempt you with a swig of their Kopparberg sooner rather than later, no matter how convinced they are that you will love it!



People Will Respect You For It

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those who drink. In fact, most, if not all of my nearest and dearest take a drink, and I’m not saying that I never will, but for now it’s way off the agenda. You just need to surround yourself with good people who acknowledge and accept your choice. You shouldn’t be subjected to any pressure or treated any differently. Trust your instincts, be confident in the person you are and everything will fall into place.



And Embrace It!

Finally, if you’re anything like me then all you’ll need is some good music – you’ll be first on the dance floor and last to leave!




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