A Conversation for Alcohol Abuse

University drinking culture

Post 1

Mammuthus Primigenius

Alcoholism is a problem, however alcohol abuse is a much wider issue. What concerns me is the excessive drinking culture which exists with students and other young people.

When I arrived as an innocent new undergraduate at Durham University, I was completely unprepared for the scale of alcohol abuse. When I went out with my friends at home we only ever had one or two drinks and never had a problem. However I soon realised that things were different at university.

In the freshers week I was introduced to: college drinking games, an idea that to go out every night and drink 5-10 pints was normal, and a myth that to get drunk was desirable. Anxious to fit in and make friends I went along with all this, for a few weeks, until one night I drank far too much, was thoroughly sick and made a complete fool of myself. After that I didn't drink at all for six months.

There were several problems with Durham. The beer was ridiculously cheap. The college system meant although the student union had policies about alcohol abuse, they were simply ignored by the college reps - who were all a bunch of jerks, determined that their term in office should be the wildest yet. And there was a male, Northern, sports-team culture to the place. However the basic problem seems to exist throughout Europe (and the world?). Far too many people drink too much and believe or pretend that it's cool to do so.

My advice to students is:

Don't let anyone talk you into drinking more than you know you can handle.
Don't get involved with drinking games. Try to get your union to have policy discouraging them.
Don't pretend that getting drunk is desirable. If you think it is, you have got a problem. Seek help imeadiately.
If someone asks you to get them half, don't buy them a pint.
If you ask someone to buy you a half and they buy a pint, just drink half of it.

My experience with alcohol was a shock, I know many people think I'm being silly - 'everyone gets drunk once or twice, can't you handle it?' However alcohol abuse kills thousands of people each year, far more than any illegal drugs. I was given hours of drugs education at school, but I've never found that a problem. I knew people at university who took drugs, but it was always accepted as something some people did, some people didn't, nobody was under pressure to try anything they didn't want to. Unfortunately that was not the case with alcohol.


University drinking culture

Post 2

Researcher 193954

Although it might be "shocking" for new students to go to college and choose to partake in a drinking schedule much different than that they'd previously known, it's all part of the college experience. And a key word in that sentence is "choose." It is a choice, after all. I knew many students when I was in college who didn't drink, and that was fine with everyone. Yes, the majority of students do choose to drink, and they sometimes choose to drink excessively. Before I went to college, my drinking experience included a sip or two from a can of beer on two separate occasions. When I went away to college, however, I drank! Most of it had to do with this--when was I ever going to get the chance to live this way again? After college, I got a job and assumed more responsibility than I'd ever known. Drinking in college equates to (for most students), hanging out with friends, socializing, trying to meet members of the opposite sex, being a little more comfortable with yourself at a very crucial and transitional stage in your life. I mean, for many a college student, this is the cheapest form of entertainment available--a keg can provide hours of fun! Hangovers stink, and that's something you might have to deal with if you overdo it. But then you might actually learn not to overdo it. I changed dramatically during my college years. Upon graduation, I was more outgoing, more secure with myself, and fairly confident that I'd make it through tough situations. I'm not saying that drinking on college campuses is wise, or even right. But, let's face it, I prefer for these students to get their heavy-drinking years out of the way, before they hold down jobs, have families, and are out in the "real world." And it sure beats the students doing "e" and coke!!!


University drinking culture

Post 3

Demon Drawer

Sports Night.

Often held on Wednesdays after the main inter-university sports events, when all the University teams come back for a major drininking season. It is quite scarey when you consider that these are supposedly the fittest people at the Uni and seeing how much most of them consume.


University drinking culture

Post 4

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

i was at durham too and i totally agree with the college reps thing.
a lot of them were totally irresponsible

the best way i found to avoid drink was to make friends with people who didnt drink.

all my friends had no money......we saved an abolute fortune!

FABT


University drinking culture

Post 5

Ormondroyd

There is a massive drinking culture in some professions too. I used to be a full-time journalist, and it was a case of - 'Right, work done, whose round is it?' after work every night. All too tempting, after a stressful day dealing with deadlines and nagging, idiotic PR people. I enthusiastically participated in said drinking culture, to the detriment of my mental, physical and financial well-being.

It wasn't just after work, either. Put it this way: 'Private Eye' magazine called their journalist character 'Lunchtime O'Booze' for good reasons. God, it's a wonder we ever got anything written...


University drinking culture

Post 6

J'au-æmne

I'm at Durham. I have to say I was a little perturbed by the amount that we were expected to drink in Fresher's week. So I just didn't drink enough to get drunk any night, and subsequently decided to be nice to the exec so that they'd be willing to help me if I ever needed stuff. I don't tend to go out drinking very much now.

Although Durham college reps have a thing about alcohol, the DSU does have an alcohol awareness week, and soft drinks in college bars and at Kingsgate (the union bar) are always much, much cheaper than alcohol (40p for a pint of coke/lemonade) where they wouldn't be in a regular pub (for example the Swan and Three Cygnets).

Personally, I find not drinking much is good because I don't spend on alcohol, and when I do it doesn't take much for me to 'feel the effects' smiley - smiley

I think its really sad that people think that students can only have fun by drinking. Its not true, either. There's a lot of us who don't think that going down the bar is the only way to have a good time, and a lot more who are happy to go to the bar, drink in moderation, and enjoy the company of friends.

J'au-æmne, who has genuinely stayed up really really late discussing poverty, the existance of God, politics, and music...


University drinking culture

Post 7

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

i think student reps in durham have a lot to answer for.

it's like, when they advertise the ball tickets in the summer (now) and you really look at what is offered, basically there is no point going unlesss tere are loads of you in a group and you are drunk. there is nothing to actually DO there.

annoyed me intensly. mind you, i never had the money to goto a ball, so it didnt much matter,.....

FABT


University drinking culture

Post 8

J'au-æmne

Andy wants me to go to the Hild Bede summer ball. But you pay the whole time: for the tickets, the dress, the drinks, the everything... And none of my friends will be going anyway.


University drinking culture

Post 9

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I don't think it has to be horrible. I like to drink from time to time. At times, like when Iw as in the Amry, I drank a huge amount. When I went to visit friends at college I could easily out drink the students.

It doesn't have to be harmful, and having silly draconian policies aren't the answer. When I went to college, I wound up in a huge debate over the use of alchol at college functions. We had a policy against it. I thought it was silly and said so. I therefore wound up in an arguement in an arguement with the members of Students Against Drunk Driving.

I was later upset about a similair policy at a university function. We couldn't have liquor at an ROTC function. In the military, there is a respect for people who don't drink, but there are definite traditions where most soldiers do drink. I think its absurd to interupt those tiem honored traditions for stupid university policies. Fortunalty, the officer's club where we had the function had a seperate bar that we visited quite often.

Drinking isn't evil in and of itself.


University drinking culture

Post 10

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

agreed, but the mentality that you *must* drink that is found in so many JCRs IS bad.

my first week at uni all you got from every direction was 'hey come to this club/pub/ball and get absolutley hammered.' a lot of people went because they thought it was the *done thing* and wanted to fit in. a lot went out of shear boredom, what is there to do in freshers week if you dont go to all these places and get rat arsed.

freshers in my third year at least had a choice, they had clubbing trips or video nights or sit around and whinge whilst pretending to play bored games nights.......not that we had any influence on policy of course.......

best event i wnet to at college was a finger painting party which was organised towards the end of a revision period in the summer. everyone wanted to de stress and it was perfect. great fun and very cheap.

FABT


University drinking culture

Post 11

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I think a good way to deal with it is to let people voluntarily stay at dorms that are alcohol free.

Of course, when I first went to college, I was 16 and lving at home. I took the bus to university. I joined the Army for five years. When I returned to college, I was married and commuted from some distance.


University drinking culture

Post 12

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

god, i SO wish there was an alcohol free dorm.

heaven

for someone like me who really cant drink much alcohol because it doesnt agree with me, (1 martini is about my limit) and couldnt afford it anyway living with a load of p**sheads is really a pain.

i'd love a silent dorm. there used to be rules where i lived that after a silence bell was rung then you HAD to be quiet. unfortunatley that was abandoned in the 50's. one of my biggest problems with halls is the noise. my ears freak out. once i have noticed a noise then thats it, i cant ignore it and its gets in my head and it's like itching. drives me round the bend. especially if i am trying to sleep or study and the g*t in the room opposite is watching TV loudly. i really find its a problem. i mean, you can go the library in the day, but it is unavoidable to study in the evenings, you cant stay at the library much after dinner time due to safety issues with getting back home, but then everyone else seems to want to play loud music and study. ahhhhhhh.

does anyone know if you can get ear plugs that actually work? my friens sent me some in my third year as a joke becaue i bitched so much about the noise but they didnt really work. or do you think my doctor could help?
prescribe rat poison for the offending people.....
FABT


University drinking culture

Post 13

26199

Hey, FABT... I get annoyed with similar things 'round where I live... there is sort of a solution...

Well, this is what I do, anyway... if the noise is bothering me, I wear earphones, through which I play pink noise... ('s like white noise, only softer smiley - smiley)... if this is reasonably loud, it completely blocks out everything else... and because it's constant and there all the time, it doesn't stop me sleeping... good for studying, too.

Rather relies on you having a PC in your room, but if you do, could be worth a try... the software I use is called Brainwave Generator - ignore all the stuff about brainwaves and alpha rythyms and stuff, I personally think it's nonsense, but it's a handy program regardless smiley - smiley... lets you fiddle with it until you have a noise you can relax to.

http://www.bwgen.com/

I've personally taken pride in being (I'm fairly sure) one of the very, very few students at Cambridge who hasn't touched a drop of alcohol while here smiley - biggrin


University drinking culture

Post 14

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

thank you, i'll book mark it incase i need it later. it might help with study anyway, even if i cant really sleep with ear plugs.

how did you find it? i never heard of it before.


University drinking culture

Post 15

Mammuthus Primigenius

Noise freaked me out during my years in Halls, with time I learnt to sleep with ear plugs and a blanket wrapped around my ears.

I walked back from the library at 22:00 despite the safety issue. I figured if I was assaulted I'd have a strong case to get the college to do something about it. Sounds crazy, but after several hours in your room trying to ignore the persistent thud-thud-thud of a base beat, anything seems better.


University drinking culture

Post 16

26199

Well, I tried various programs... actually lots will do, since all you want is pretty simple random noise... but that one's the nicest smiley - ok

(although, admittedly, they haven't guilted me into paying them any money yet smiley - blush)

Base beats... yeah... not much fun...

My other favoured solution is to play my own music, but of course that only helps if you don't want to sleep smiley - smiley


University drinking culture

Post 17

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

or kill the neighbours


University drinking culture

Post 18

Mammuthus Primigenius

Before trying that, go to the university authorities, explain your homicidal fantasies with as much enthusiasm as you can, and suggest that their cleaning bill might be less if they enforced a bit of silence.


University drinking culture

Post 19

26199

Well - actually - before trying anything else, it's well worth asking anyone whoever's being noisy if they wouldn't mind being a bit quieter. Depends on who it is, of course... but I've found if I actually mention it, people are apologetic and nice about it...

If they don't know they're bothering you, 's not really fair to get annoyed at 'em... even if they do seem inconsiderate...


University drinking culture

Post 20

26199

(what I really hate around here is that the room doors are hard to close without making a lot of noise... you have to either be very careful or actually use the key... very annoying when you're trying to sleep and can randomly hear doors being slammed)


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