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Freshers, without the excessive drinking

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So, you got your results and you’re heading to university? Good stuff! Though, with every event invitation on Facebook inviting you to what promises to be the ‘biggest’ and/or ‘messiest’ freshers event, you are filled with dread?

Well, that sounds just a tad extreme. Though not rare.

I am 19 years old and have never been absolutely wasted, as us young people put it. That’s not to mean that I didn’t enjoy freshers and don’t enjoy nights out.

I do drink, I enjoy a couple of cocktails with the girls and a vodka and coke in a club. I enjoy a cider with a pub lunch and a wine with a chick flick. I just don’t enjoy the thought of drinking money away to spew in a gutter and break my favourite pair of heels.

Though I can see why getting drunk appeals to some people, for me it’s really the loss of control that comes with it. Whatever your reason, everybody is different and that's okay.

As freshers rolled round last September, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t dreading it. Everybody I met at uni or in halls was asking me where I was going and which wristband I had, like I had a clue!?

If you’re like me, then here’s a few ways to get the most out of freshers. 

Join in, your way

Clubs do not force alcohol down your throat, so if that’s your worry then scrunch it up and throw it away. There’s no harm in trying an event, if you don’t mind being covered in UV paint or conforming to a circus theme.

Get your glad rags on and head out with your new flatmates; if you don’t want to drink then don’t. If you want a few then have a few. Don’t let fear hold you back; if it’s not your scene then grab a taxi home, no harm done. 

Find a few unusual bars

During our freshers, myself and best friends found a jazz bar in the middle of Birmingham. We walked in and it was a free gig with a great atmosphere. Even a band from home were performing.

Another time we went to a burrito bar that served all drinks in tea cups. The next a Jekyll and Hyde themed bar. With so much happening in the surroundings, nobody gives a toss what’s in your glass – so long as you’re having a good time. So you drink that mocktail. Or that cocktail.  

Attend the freshers fair

It seems lame, but it’s a great way to meet people. How very cliché. It’s true though. Go and get your free pizza, fill your bag with leaflets and grab a couple of vouchers for gym memberships. Have a look around your campus and be one of the few without a hangover. You might meet your new BFF who has bright ideas about an evening plan. Whilst there… 

Join a society

Blah blah blah, it’s a university must. For a reason. Pay your fiver and find friends for life and bag yourself a readymade social life. The societies will be holding their own freshers events too, so spend your evening with the other sport fanatics watching the game, or get out writing for journalism. Go rock climbing, if that’s your thing. 

Explore!

You're probably somewhere new, so why not? Take a walk into town and see what you stumble across. We found a video game evening in a hall, and played PacMan. Another time we found a museum. You'll probably find shortcuts too, which are handy for the rest of the year. 

Find the music

Most universities are near to/in a city, meaning that there are music venues nearby. Go and find them, September to December are the months of tours. Gigs are a great way to spend an evening, plus you’ll bond with people as the shared interest is already there.

Also, check out the smaller music venues. Local musicians, upcoming artists, some comedy even. Even find an open mic or karaoke bar! Similarly, check out the theatres who probably offer student tickets. 

Less drink? MORE FOOD!

You just can't beat a meal out, and by finding the best eateries with your new pals you save the washing up liquid too. Get yourself down to China Town and find the best buffet, head to the cultural quarters and try something new. Browse the hidden gems of shops in back lanes and treat yourself to an afternoon tea! 

Look for events

Your SU won’t only be organising bar crawls; chances are there will be cinema trips as well as day trips. Sign yourself up and find yourself on the Warner Bros Studio Tour with some new class mates, or even give Warwick Castle a chance!

If you go to BCU you’ll quickly pick up on their obsession with getting students to Stonehenge. Weird. 

Have the neighbours over

Even the strongest of fresher-goers can’t escape without freshers flu, everybody will need a breather at some point. Take this time to invite your suffering neighbours over for a couple of films and some popcorn. Get to know them.

Make the effort to invite them over for an evening of card games or baking. Order some pizza and set up the game console. Some friends of mine even bought a ball pit. They’ll realise that staying in can be the new going out. 

You’ll be surprised at how many people will be just like you, and then how many people really don’t care that much about what you do and will respect your choices. Just remember, anybody who pressures you isn’t worth having as a friend. Not enjoying drinking isn’t the end of your university fun, and is no reason for you to hide away during freshers. It’s also no reason for you to miss out on new friendships. 

Go and have fun!

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