How to Survive Freshers Week Without Drinking

Here are some top tips to survive an alcohol-free Freshers week 👇

Staying sober is a simple choice. Yet, when you’re surrounded by freshers and alcohol at university, it can feel like you’re the only one abstaining. Freshers' Week is all about making new friends and celebrating your first taste of freedom – but you don’t have to succumb to peer pressure to have a good time!

If you’re worried about what people will think if you pass up on a drink, read on; we’ve put together a quick guide on how to survive Freshers' Week without drinking.

1. Get involved with clubs, socs and sports teams

Many students skip over Freshers' Fairs, but these events are a goldmine for meeting new people who like the same things as you do. Get in there early and start mingling with students who share your passions – whether that’s jazz dancing, K-pop or table tennis. Plus, you’ll likely meet students in years above you who will be able to show you the ropes and give you some insider tips on the best things to do during Freshers' Week. Win-win!

2. Find events that aren’t centred around booze

Look; we know most Students' Unions go hard on promoting foam parties and two-for-one cocktail nights, but those aren’t the only events happening in Freshers' Week! Talk to the team at the Union and they’ll be happy to help craft you a fun-filled schedule of non-drink related activities you can get involved with.

3. Show them you don’t need drinks to have fun 

If you’ve been waiting for months to get to uni to go on a crazy drinking binge, it can be surprising when someone tells you they don’t plan on having any alcohol. Usually, the best way to help them understand is by showing them that you really don’t need booze to let loose and have a good time. If you’re the life of the party, no one’s going to push you to down a pint or “just try it”. 

4. Find like-minded freshers

If partying is just straight-up not your scene, that’s totally fine. And you’re certainly not alone – there will be plenty of people in the same boat having the same worries as you are. You just have to find them.

Be open to meeting new people and starting conversations with classmates or students in your building. Having a non-drinking buddy can help to remind you that this week isn’t all about booze but building connections and bonding with new people.

5. Make the most of hangover-free mornings 

Inevitably, there will be times where your friends aren’t up until the afternoon due to a drink-fuelled evening – and that’s okay. Let them heal their headaches while you get the most out of your morning. When all is quiet on campus, a peaceful stroll can really do wonders for your mental health and give you time to reflect on the week so far. Did you need to stock up on some groceries? Use your time to do all those little tasks that can easily be forgotten when your sole focus is sleeping off the damage. 

6. Sit back, laugh and take pictures

If you're planning to join in on clubbing with friends who're going hard on the booze, see it as a laugh rather than a drag. Drunk people are hilarious to watch when you’re clear-headed, so just sit back and enjoy the free entertainment! Plus, you can be the one to take the best snaps for your Insta story (just remember to ask your hungover friends for permission before posting their drunken selfies).

7. Avoid toxic people

No one who matters will care that you don’t drink as long as you’re still up for a good time. Of course, there will always be those who try to force it on you or make you feel like an outcast for not getting involved. Those people aren’t worth your time or energy, so just shrug it off and try to avoid their company in the future!

8. Don’t apologise for your choices

When the shots are poured and the drinking games descend, it can feel awkward to be “that person staying sober.” But you’ve got nothing to be sorry for, so take it easy and be chill.

When your turn comes, just say “nah mate, don’t drink” or something to that effect – there’s no need to justify your decision or apologise for taking part. As long as you’re still opening up and staying social, casually brushing off an invite to take a shot shouldn’t be a problem!

9. Plan some booze-free fun

The idea that you need alcohol to have fun is a total misconception - especially when you’ve just moved to a new city. Seize the opportunity to go sight-seeing with your new flatmates and get to know your surroundings!

Head to your local cinema to catch the latest releases or plan an 80s night and hit up the arcade for some retro gaming ‘til the early hours. Seek out the best student cafés or find hidden gems in the town market – the world is your oyster right now. When the weather’s naff, why not plan a cosy film night with your flatmates or get a reputation as the board game champion? The more you think about it, the less drinking seems to be at the heart of everything.

10. Don’t overthink it

Honestly, most people on nights out will be too drunk to notice you’re not drinking. Try to relax and not panic too much about what people might think. Just be yourself, try and make some friends and hopefully have some fun! Freshers' Week might be known for alcohol-fuelled carnage, but the most memorable moments aren’t usually made when you’re black-out drunk anyway.

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