We are all too familiar with the scene. A weekday night. 3am. Harcourt Street.As the clubs begin to close, hundreds of college students spill out onto the streets, bringing the chaotic mayhem of the dancefloor onto the pavement. The chatter and laughter of the crowd breaks the silence that has fallen over the city at this late hour.
Bouncers attempt to coax drunken groups to begin their stumbling trip down Grafton Street to McDonalds. Rikshaws spin by, picking up girls in short dresses and fake tan who can no longer
keep up the pretence of being able to walk in their stilettos. And of course, not to forget the few stragglers vomiting
on their own feet and urinating against lamp posts.
When you are in the midst of this setting on a night out, you think that this is the exact definition of having fun. But when you witness this sober, all you see is a pathetic, degrading, messy spectacle.
Undoubtedly, the social lives of young people often revolve around alcohol. This is not something that anyone can judge,
as we are all guilty of going that one step too far with our drinking from time to time.
But when we are so aware of the dangers of alcohol, and the scandalous state it turns us into, why do the majority of us
still regularly drink to excess? Is alcohol really worth the subsequent horrendous hangover, not to mention the ‘beer fear’, grown further by those mortifying
flashbacks from the night before?
You would imagine that drinking patterns would ease as students leave the hotbed of peer pressure which is secondary school. However, this peer pressure that most of us have fallen victim to in our teens undoubtedly continues when you enter college.
“Coming to the NuBar?” Is an invitation often solicited following a lecture. Alcohol is continuously pushed on you. No night out in college can begin without pre-drinks, where everyone attempts
to guzzle as much cheap cans and wine as they can stomach before getting the last bus into town.
But the real question is this – would we be capable of going to a club, staying sober, and still having the craic? While many people say that they could, it is my belief that most would in fact be lying. Popular nightspots such as the Palace or Coppers are difficult enough to stick when your hammered, but when you are sober, being forced into a nightclub is a form of mental torture.
During a conversation with some male friends recently, a number confided that they needed to be drunk in order to approach a woman. This came as no surprise, as drinking brings with it an incredible confidence boost. It is this ability to lower our inhibitions that leads to people associate alcohol with having a good time.
While there is nothing wrong with drinking responsibly from time to time, it is fantastic to see groups such as DCU Sober Soc encouraging students to drink less, while simultaneously introducing them to ways in which they can enjoy themselves – sober.
However, despite their best efforts, alcohol awareness campaigns such as Drink Aware, and societies such as Sober Soc, have not yet managed to prise our Kopparberg cans from our grasp. It appears that the prominent position that alcohol has taken in our society is not set to change any time soon.