Almost every university student drinks alcohol at some point. Not everyone enjoys it, but most get on with drinking it anyway.
It doesn’t matter how detached you may be from the rituals and initiations that some clubs and societies put upon their new recruits. Even some of the stronger spirited (no pun intended!) objectors can be pressured into drinking more than they’d like on occasion.
But there’s no need to get completely bungalowed […if you’ve never seen the fantastic Michael Macintyre, you’re missing out]. Whether you’re a teetotaller, an occasional drinker, or simply in need of slowing down your current excessive intake, take the following tips into account and give your liver (and your shrinking bank balance) a break:
- Don’t make a big point of how little (or much) you drink – All this does is draw attention to your drinking habits and allow for comparisons, not to mention challenges to go a bit further. Even if you try not to drink by telling friends that you get drunk after half a pint, there are enough people out there who’d love to see you drink that half pint and witness the aftermath.
- Keep track of what you’re drinking – If you can’t keep a mental tally over the course of a single evening, you’re probably drinking too much!
- You DON’T need excuses for not drinking – The choice is yours, not everyone else’s!
- Deflect friendly pressure with friendly decline – Anything over this needn’t be tolerated. Are these people you friends, or not!? And if the behaviour is because they have already been drinking too much, your best bet may be to step away from the situation and call it a day.
- If you want to enjoy a few drinks, prepare for the festivities and stay in control – You don’t have to be a party pooper to stay sober. One time at a house party, the alcohol was flowing rather too freely. I found a measuring jug in the kitchen and started filling it up with all sorts of measures of alcohol. In the end, the mixture of many different alcohols looked like raw sewage. All I needed to do was sip tiny quantities in order to get a cheer. After drinking almost nothing, I was invited to more parties as if I was some crazy reveller!
- Drink more slowly – Who cares if everyone else is on their third pint and you’ve only got half way through your first? It can go two ways. Either nobody will notice, or you’ll get called a wuss. Pah, big deal if you get called a wuss. Make a joke of it if you like, admit you’re a lightweight (even if you’re not). Who cares? Anyway, as soon as everyone else gets into the swing of things, they’re much less likely to notice how much anyone is drinking…including themselves!
- Drink water/keep hydrated – A lot of alcohol issues (during and after) come from dehydration. If you keep drinking enough water to top you up, you’ll stave off some of the negative factors.
- Remember that not everyone drinks – You’ll be forgiven for thinking that everyone around you drinks all the time. It might look it when you’re out and about, but relatively few students are out on the razzle every night. In fact, plenty students restrict their alcohol consumption to just once a week, while others leave it even longer.
- Mixing drinks isn’t the problem…It’s not understanding the amount you’re drinking – Sure, the combination of drinks may cause you upset, but that’s nothing to do with the alcohol. The alcohol issue only rears its ugly head when you forget how much you’ve consumed. A couple of pints of beer may not bother you much, but follow it up with a couple of heavy vodka shots in quick succession and you’ve suddenly ingested a LOT more alcohol in a short space of time.
- Eat – Some people like to get drunk for the sake of getting drunk. The cheapest and quickest way to reach drunkenness, they say, is to work the alcohol on an empty stomach. If they’d eaten a huge dinner, it might take several more pints to become inebriated. Since you’re hopefully reading this in order to limit the effects of alcohol, it would therefore make sense to enjoy a full meal before hitting the town.
- Become a connoisseur of drink – Early on at university, I became known for enjoying fine ports and slowly sipping expensive liquors. That didn’t stop me from buying Snakebites, alcopops, and whatever happened to be the ‘drink du jour’, but it gave me an easy get out when I wasn’t in the mood for consuming much alcohol. At moments of sobriety, I’d become a snob and wave off the pressures to drink.
- Enjoy yourself as yourself – It’s easier than you think…
- Don’t accept drinks that you didn’t personally buy yourself – If you’re known for not drinking, it’s easy to have something slipped into your supposedly non-alcoholic beverage as a joke. Always be careful.
- Keep hold of your drink at all times – If you don’t look after your drink, it’s easy to have it spiked at this point. So take care and don’t let the drink out your sight.
- Have an alcohol intolerance – You may not be intolerant to alcohol, but that shouldn’t stop you from saying it. As I’ve mentioned above, you don’t need excuses. Nevertheless, this is one way of deflecting the stubborn people who don’t want to stop giving you a hard time. I know someone who really is alcohol intolerant and she’s found that it stops most people in their tracks.
- Be the designated driver – Okay, you’re unlikely to have a car with you at uni. Okay, you probably haven’t gone much further than the union or a bar in town. But if you ever find yourself going further afield and you own a set of wheels, you can get off drinking by offering to drive people around. Just keep your fingers crossed your mates don’t throw up on the way back home…
- Be the designated carer – Even without a car, why not elect yourself as the angel of the rabble? Don’t do it if you know everyone is out to get stinking drunk and your work will be cut out. But you can probably get away with giving mates a helping hand, which should stop them from desperately trying to get you drunk too.
- Revel in the fact that you’ll remember far more than your peers – You can remind your friends exactly how they embarrassed themselves. Or you can take photos and pretend someone else took the snaps of the ‘awful truth’. How on earth did they get on your phone? And your Facebook profile…?