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Alcohol

Does university culture focus too much on alcohol?

Alcohol, drinking and nights out seem to be synonymous with university culture.

It’s seen as a part of your identity as a student and viewed as the typical university “experience”. You must drink in order to achieve this set experience. But what about those who don’t enjoy the excessive drinking, lack of control that comes with being drunk and being surrounded by people who are intoxicated? It might be surprising, but they do exist.

A 2018 survey found that 79% agree that drinking is just a part of university culture and is accepted as the norm, whilst a massive 70% think that students drink to fit in with peers. It is clear to see that there's a massive drinking culture and a pressure to drink to be seen as having a good time and embracing your university experience.

In my experience at university, drinking is seemingly the only social activity available.

The only suggestion for things to do is always going “out-out” which inevitably involves excessive alcohol consumption. It’s not something that appeals. Apparently, in order to make friends with course mates, flatmates or whoever else you come across during your university years, it's necessary to enjoy drinking.

Societies can be a great way to meet new people and participate in something you want to try. Yet often, they have a fatal flaw for people who don’t enjoy drinking. The social events are often advertised as a great way to bond with people in your society, however, in order to bond it requires drinking. More often than not, the social events provided are things like pub crawls, club nights or balls (that take place in a club or involve excessive drinking). Again, something that does appeal to those who aren’t huge drink lovers.

Can university be exclusionary to those who don’t enjoy drinking?

Alcohol is glorified as the be-all and end-all of your university experience. Nights out, socials and even turning up to lectures drunk are all the norm for students. But remember there are those out there who don’t enjoy the excessive drinking and perhaps feel the pressure of living up to that university experience. Suggest a coffee meet-up, a games night or a film trip. There are other things in the world that don’t involve alcohol and your university experience does not have to be defined by how many units of alcohol you can consume in a week.

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