Sober October: Is it possible at third level?

 Freshers week to post-lecture pints, the Irish drinking culture can be very prominent among college students.

 Freshers week to post-lecture pints, the Irish drinking culture can be very prominent among college students.

Student life and the ‘college experience’ are largely based on drinking, partying, and going out.

Although it can be fun to have a few drinks and unwind with your friends after a day of lectures, many students may feel pressured to drink more than they want to.

Often when someone mentions that they do not drink or are not drinking on a particular night, they can be met with disapproving glances and bombarded with questions as to why they have made that decision.

The latest National Alcohol Diary Survey conducted by the Irish Health Research Board found that 28 per cent of young men and 22 per cent of young women consumed their low-risk weekly alcohol guideline in just one sitting.

These figures may not surprise you when it comes to students but regular binge drinking sessions can have serious implications on your mental and physical health.

As someone who does not drink, it is easy to feel isolated in an environment that largely revolves around alcohol and parties. Sober October has just begun, so now seems like a good time to talk about this sense of isolation.

Recently, DCU Students’ Union has been hosting many alcohol-free events on campus which is a great way to start to normalise having fun without alcohol being involved. These types of events show students that you do not always need to drink to enjoy yourself and have a good time.

DCU also has a society called ‘Sober Soc’ which hosts many fun activities that do not involve drinking. They have weekly meetings called the ‘Hangover Hub’ which can involve doing anything from watching cartoons (sobtoons) to colouring pictures.

Sober Soc also aims to highlight the importance of alcohol awareness among the student body to the best of their ability.

Apart from this, there are many other exciting things you can do during Sober October. Instead of a boozy brunch, have a picnic in the park with your friends. Swap the post-lecture pints out for a movie night with snacks and treats.

Go for walks on nearby beaches, go to the gym, pick up a new hobby, start reading again or finish that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

Always remember, being sober does not mean you are “no craic” and drinking on a night out is a choice, not a requirement.

Jayde Maher

Image credit: Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash