Be yourself

Enjoying freshers, alcohol-free

Not a big drinker? If that's the case, you might be feeling a little apprehensive about the freshers period. Not to worry, Portsmouth alumni and fellow tee-totaler Euan McLachlan has given us the down-lo of how to survive University without a drop of alcohol.

If you're worried about starting university as a non-drinker, let me give you a little reassurance... I started at Portsmouth as a fresher in 2013 and can confirm that it is entirely possible to fully embrace the university experience without drinking.

Before coming to Portsmouth I was apprehensive too. I wondered what my time at university would be like and whether I would settle in during the freshers period. I'd heard a lot from friends who had already been to university about the drink culture that can exist among students and wondered where I'd fit into it all, especially as I was going to be living in halls.

Euan Enjoying Portsmouth Freshers in 2013

There seems to be this stigma that you need to drink to have fun. But whether you're deciding not to drink due to principle or preference, having fun on a night out is all down to your approach. You can choose to seclude yourself by resigning to the fact that because you don't drink you can't join in with the fun, but this can leave you feeling rather lonely. On the other hand, you may feel pressured into drinking because 'everybody else' is. I don't think either approach is good, I think that there is a middle ground to be found.  

I went on many a night out as a student without drinking a drop of alcohol and still had a great time with friends. I was still able to feel a part of the group and I knew that if I ever decided to have a drink, it was because I chose to - not because I felt pressured into it. I expected my reasons for not drinking (which are a mixture of principal and preference) to turn other students away, especially when I was in halls. However, I found that once I explained my reasoning to others, they respected my views.

If going out/clubbing really isn't for you, then there are so many other things you can do in Portsmouth which don't involve drinking. There are hundreds student groups to get involved with, places to eat, sights to see and activities to get involved in that I doubt you'd find it hard to find other things to do with your friends.

What I would say to anyone coming to university with concerns about this area of student life is to not worry. Take the time to find your own rhythm and don't let the worry of 'not fitting in' overshadow how exciting starting university is. Just relax, enjoy the opportunity to meet lots of new people and most importantly have a great time!

  Wellbeing   Freshers   Culture

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