How to Handle the Drinking Culture
“I’ve never drunk before”
Just be careful. Your tolerance won’t be great, and you’ll reach (and surpass) your limit quickly. Be sure to eat something before going out; you won’t get drunk as quickly and are less likely to throw up, although do not eat so much that you feel full and go out already feeling slightly sick. Don’t be pressured into drinking more than you want to, and start slowly. Faking drinking is not a good idea, as you’ll get found out eventually, and you’ll look like an idiot; instead, if you don’t have a history of drinking, just be honest and say you’re not a massive drinker. People will respect you far more for being honest than lying and making a fool of yourself. There is also nothing wrong with having a few drinks and then alternating alcohol with glasses of water, or even switching to water completely. If you don’t feel like drinking then don’t. There will be plenty of other great people at Freshers’ Week who won’t be drinking, so you won’t be alone, and you are allowed to dance/chat people up/have fun without being drunk. Remember, the point of drinking alcohol is that it should be an enjoyable experience. Find a drink you enjoy the taste of, and drink it at a rate slow enough that you feel relaxed and sociable, not dizzy and ill.
“I’ve drunk too much”
Drink water and plenty of it. If you need painkillers, pop a couple of ibuprofen (paracetemol should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol). If you feel like throwing up then do it at night, as evening vomit is much more pleasant than morning vomit. Comparatively so, anyway. Open the windows in your room to get fresh air. Try to get some sleep and don’t plan anything for before midday the next day. When you wake up, eat something proteinous (this doesn’t mean raw eggs unless you’re in the 1930s and have it with Worcestershire sauce). An excellent drink to have is orange juice with a tablespoon of lemon juice, bit of honey and an effervescent vitamin tablet, great for replacing all the good things you threw up. However if in the morning your stomach feels too odd to eat too much for fear of being sick, try very slowly eating a plain piece of bread and slowly drinking something very sweet and carbonated to help to settle your stomach. A recent scientific study showed that the best food to eat the morning after a night of heavy drinking is toast and honey. However, there have been many studies all showing different things. You may hear people refer to a method called ‘hair of the dog’. This means avoiding the symptoms of a hangover by just having more to drink. You probably don’t need to be told, but that’s not a good idea. You’re not ‘curing’ the inevitable ill effects of a hangover – you’re simply delaying them. You will feel them eventually, and if you have been drinking the morning after, they will likely be worse.
“I did something stupid”
Regret it and wait for the embarrassing photos (or for the relationship status change request) to appear on Facebook. Actually, chances are, no-one will remember. Don’t worry too much. O Week is for doing stupid stuff, and at least you’ll have a story for the bar the next night.
Try out different drinks and figure out what you like. For pretty much any category of drink (bar alcopops) you can get high-quality versions that taste better and make everything a little classier. Buying yourself a bottle of something decent and inviting people round is a quick way to make friends and to pass the time if no-one has anything to do, or the bars have already closed and you don’t feel like clubbing.
Remember, you don’t have to drink just because everyone else is doing so, and even if you do decide to drink, this doesn’t mean you have to get drunk. Conversely, just because no-one else is drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t. If you don’t want to get drunk, don’t allow peer pressure to force it upon you. The same applies to the specific drink: just because everyone around you is drinking one thing, doesn’t mean you have to like it, and if you don’t like something, you shouldn’t force yourself to drink it.
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