Starting university as a teetotal

In the upcoming weeks and when coming to university, you may notice that much of the fan-fair available during Freshers week and the rest of you university life surrounds clubbing, nights out and alcohol. I can already bet that you’ve been invited to foam parties, 90s nights and neon raves for Freshers week. This can be particularly daunting for those of you coming to university who don’t drink, or don’t feel comfortable with the clubbing scene. This is something that many students struggle with (more than you may think). In my flat of 5 girls in first year I was the only one who drank alcohol. However, while at university drinking isn’t all that’s on offer for students, and during my first year and as I head into my second I’ve learned that this isn’t all what university is all about. So here are some tried and tested ideas for things to do as a teetotal while at university.

I want to start by saying that alcohol isn’t the be-all and end-all of socialisation. You’ll be able to have fun and enjoy university and Freshers just as much even if you don’t drink. There are so many studies and reports that conclude young people are drinking less than any other older group of adults, and have the highest proportion of people not drinking at all. The more that this becomes widely known, the more it’s changing how lots of students experience university.

1. Get involved in a society (or ten!)

Societies are a huge part of university life. There are many different societies available while at university surrounding a range of different interests, academic subjects and social groups, including common interests such as the Drama society and Film society. You could even become an innovator at university and create your own societies that may be a topic or sport that you’re interested in. Such as the Disney society, the pun society and even tea drinker’s society dedicated to those socie-teas (trying and failing to think of a pun to go with the pun society)!

Academic societies such as the Psychology society and History society are also available at Hope, as well as societies for social groups such as LGBT+. When you start university, make sure to get yourself down to the Freshers Fair to see all of the societies that are available, although you can join a society at any time during the year. Hope’s SU website contains all of the societies or simply reach out to them on Instagram or Facebook. Everyone is happy to chat and help you with getting into the right societies for you. I personally didn’t join a society last year and I majorly regret it. Even if you don’t fancy it during Freshers sign up to a few, if it’s not your thing you can leave but not grasping the opportunity could leave you regretting it like me.

2. Sports clubs

Similarly to societies, sports clubs are also a popular pastime where many people make the best friends and the best memories of their university experience! Hope University offers a large array of clubs as we have massive 3G pitches and a fully functional gym and many sports halls that can be hired. A range of sports clubs are available, including popular sports such as Football, Rugby and Netball. A lot of the sports clubs have both competing and non-competing groups, allowing for members of all abilities. Don’t fancy these sports but still want to be involved? Many different sports are available and viewable through the Student Union website and also check out @LiverpoolHopeSU on Instagram for any and all other information. We also have a Cheerleading squad which competes, my flatmate joined last year and absolutely loved it!

Fitness classes are also available for those who don’t want to join an organised group, including HIIT Fitness and Yoga classes, as well as Tennis, Badminton and Squash. You’re bound to find something you will enjoy!

3. Volunteering in your chosen city

Another good way of filling your time, and feeling a part of the Hope and Liverpool community, is by getting involved with volunteering. There are many different volunteering opportunities available at our university, including community and international volunteering opportunities, working with charities, sports volunteering, or even volunteering with the Student’s Union. These opportunities can look great on your CV, can gain you important experience in your chosen career or industry, or can just be a feel good opportunity to make a difference!

Alongside volunteering, Hope offers a variety of campus jobs. They vary from working in Post to working in the Library, Fresh Hope or Our Place. They’re well paid and as you’re working for the university it’s flexible enough to work around your class hours. It’s super easy to apply for jobs, once you’ve confirmed your passport with the Careers Hub the jobs will be all open to you. You don’t need experience to apply so I’d definitely recommend it. This is also how you become a Student Ambassador which is one of the most popular jobs on campus!

4. Cafes, restaurants and crazy golf

Okay so it doesn’t need to be specifically Crazy Golf (side note: Liverpool’s Junkyard Crazy Golf is amazing), but you get the idea. Actual places to go with friends that way you don’t feel excluded when people decide to go on nights out. Though I know many sober people who still go on the nights out they just dance and get to laugh and remember the idiotic things their friends do. It’s great fuel for funny birthday posts!

In my first year with other friends and flatmates that didn’t drink we aimed to go for a meal at least once a month. Pizza, burgers, even just Spoons but as long as we went somewhere and ate and chatted out of the flat. You don’t need to have had a drink to feel included during Freshers and university in general. Do a food crawl instead of a pub crawl and try food festivals. Even just games night in your flat with one person cooking a Bolognese is an incredible way to socialise without a drop of alcohol.

I hope you have an amazing Freshers whether you drink or not. Welcome to the best few years of your life at an amazing university!

By Zoe Barker

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