You cannot deny that british universities in particular (maybe America too) have a bit of a reputation where it concerns alcohol – this was definitely confirmed for me after speaking with other people from other countries on my year abroad! It’s quite bad when you think about it really, but alcohol and nights out are seriously sold to us – freshers, weekly events and annual events – it’s just the culture here I guess…
I will admit I was the stereotypical student with alcohol, I was at Shabang every friday night, LetsDisko every wednesday, Mosh every tuesday – I actually have no idea how I funded this tbh. I’m not here to say it wasn’t fun, it definitiely was and can be a big part of university life (of course you don’t have to drink! I had a couple of friends who didn’t drink and still had a good time coming out with us) and I have some amazing memories from nights out – particularly in first year, of course – the ‘party bus’ in Leicester and just all of those typical things you do on drunken university nights out. I had a great time, but I did spend most days hungover (and I suffer particularly bad with hangovers) and my skin was not good at all (I didn’t know it was due to drink at this time though) and I always had that dreaded ‘next day anxiety’ – yno, what had you done, what had you said and to whom.
I thought coming to Amsterdam that it would be the same situation as back at home but nope! There generally are parties on campus every week that you can go to but by now they have gotten repetitive and boring and I think i’ve just outgrown it. I think it is mainly because the centre is quite far and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the city is not student orientated so it is super expensive! Typical club entry is 15 euros! But not only that, I am just bored of being drunk- acting like an idiot, and waking up feeling rubbish. This year I have really gotten into fitness and healthy eating and alcohol and hangovers just don’t fit into that! Now I am not saying I am going teetotal – I still like a drink but I much prefer just going to a nice pub for a few casual drinks or going somewhere nice and having a few cocktails – and yeah if I do fancy it, I’ll have a big night! But the difference is I just don’t fancy it much anymore. I have experienced several benefits of just generally cutting down alcohol…
- My skin! Oh man, I struggled with flushed, blotchy and super dry skin all of second year especially and some of first year and no matter what I tried nothing fixed it. And now I’ve stopped drinking heavily every weekend my skin has improved so much and now when I do drink, I notice the difference immediately. Alcohol makes you dehydrated so it’s no surprise when I wake up with awful dry skin!
- Generally feeling healthier. No surprise really when alcohol is a poison after all! But waking up and consistently feeling healthy and looking fresh is actually divine – something I did not experience in first year!
- Similar to the previous point, I eat less junk, drunken food so can achieve my fitness goals a lot easier and quicker.
- I (pretty much) can always get to the gym. I’m generally a morning gym goer (simply because it’s so empty in the morning!) And if I’m hungover, well I either won’t go to the gym or it won’t be a good workout. (That said, I would never miss a night out such as a friends birthday just to go to the gym – balance!)
- No ‘next day anxiety’. I’m sure you know what I mean, the next day you just cringe at how you acted and what rubbish you talked to somebody who really didn’t care. I feel Im particularly guilty of this and the next day all I want to do was text everybody to make sure I didn’t make a total fool of myself but then you don’t want to do that because you’re drawing attention to your foolishness again. If you’re not drunk, you won’t experience this.
- No actual anxiety. Alcohol is a depressant and can trigger depressive and anxious thoughts. I never really experienced this but this past year I do feel the years of heavy drinking have taken it’s toll on me! I definitely have experienced anxiety for days after drinking and the night is just not worth that, at all.
- You have more money. Pretty simple, alcohol is expensive!
- You do more fun things besides drinking. I feel like at uni you get into this repetitive routine of just drinking on the same certain days, every week. Now I have more money and more hangover free days – I’m going on more day trips and doing different things! And such things make me much happier!
Yeah, I’m not saying alcohol is dreadful – I still drink! But I have just outgrown clubs and throwing back VKs and am appreciating drinking in a different way. Obviously if you still love clubbing, embrace it! And if you’ve never liked drinking, good on you!