It’s no secret that if I never stepped into a night club again it’d be 10 years too soon for me. I can’t stand the crowds, the noise, and if we’re being honest, messing around with my sleep pattern really isn’t my jam; but, if clubbing is such a big part of university culture, how do you feel included but not attend those kind of events? There’s no determined answer for this, as admittedly I went for the “fit in” approach in first year and continued a facade of loving clubbing for a significant amount of time; I used to love clubs in my late teens but going into second year especially I finally accepted I just didn’t enjoy it anymore.
Nevertheless I wanted to talk about things you can do to still feel included and have a full social life at university even if you don’t want to go on the big nights out.
Just because you’re not going to the club, it doesn’t mean that you need to spend your evening in solitude. In particular in second year, if my housemate was going out I’d always offer to host the pre-drinks, so I could still have an evening with all my friends, and have a drink with them if I wanted to, but didn’t have to find my way home alone after the pre-drinks ended. This might also work well if you’ve simply got a lot of work going on and just want to keep a sleep and work routine.
Although I’ve not explored a large amount of societies, and have not been an active member of anything during final year, societies can of course be a great way to socialise without needing to drink heavily or go to a club to have fun. I’d always suggest, especially for first and second years, taking a look around the societies fair and signing up for a few things and giving them a try. Being on their mailing list is no way a commitment to the society and most societies have a “try before you buy” system, with one or two free sessions so you can decide whether the society is for you. Quick note also: ASK about what socials they do, outside of society matters!
Sometimes it can feel, especially in first year, that your social life revolves around club nights or a takeaway meal with your flatmates in the kitchen. But if you want to break this cycle, all you have to do is ask, and see who’s around; whether you want to go for a coffee, a meal out, a trip to the cinema, chances are most people will be more than happy for a change of scene and pace, but sometimes may be too nervous to ask. Put yourself out there; the worst a friend can say if they’re busy but would love to do something some other time!
Even if you don’t like going to clubs you might still like a late night out; in that case you may want to look at some alternatives. For example, most bars and pubs are open until at least 11pm on weeknights, and restaurants 10pm. How about seeing a late night film, or participating in an escape room, which although may be a more expensive option can be a really good time, and will probably create a more unique memory than yet another night in the O2.
I hope this has been helpful to a few of you, especially prospective students; you don’t have to like clubbing or even drinking to have an active social life whilst at university, you just have to be willing to seek out “your people”, they’re out there. Often the lasting friendships you get from university are not the ones found through all the acquaintances you meet at pre-drinks but those few people you go out for a coffee with as often as you can.
Take Care Everyone, I’ll Speak to You All Soon!