Staffordshire University student, James Hulson, reveals how he quit his Computing and Engineering course two years ago because he “couldn’t fit in” without consuming alcohol.
It is widely regarded that University and consuming alcohol go hand-in-hand. Most adults seem to think that students spend approximately 10% of their time studying, 40% of their time in bed, and 50% of their time in the pub.
However, this is not always the case, and it certainly was not the case for James Hulson. James, now 20 years-old, went to Staffordshire University two years ago to study Computing and Engineering.
Despite him moving to University full of hope and optimism, he never managed to settle in within his halls of residence, and lasted just nine days before returning home.
“It was pretty evident straight away that all anybody was interested in was how much you could drink on a night out” said James.
“I understood that maybe it was just a freshers’ thing so I tried to wait it out, but it was too much to handle. I went out with them for the first couple of nights, drinking soft drinks, but the atmosphere and the people themselves just weren’t for me.”
James, now 20 years-old, returned to University in September, but decided to commute from home rather than move back into halls of residence. “I decided to stay at home so I didn’t feel the pressure to go out or do anything I didn’t want to do.”
James was also keen to point out that he believed that alcohol and University have a very positive correlation.
“If you don’t drink, it’s almost impossible to get off on the right foot with other students. I made a point of letting my flatmates know that I didn’t drink right from the off. They understood but they didn’t seem to make much of an effort to converse with me on nights out.
“That’s pretty much the reason why I decided to go back home. I wasn’t comfortable and couldn’t see the situation improving any time soon.”
In contrast to this, there is evidence out there which suggests alcohol isn’t the only thing that brings people together whilst at University.
Andrew Gould, 21, completed his degree in Sports at Durham University last year, and went to University as a tee-total teenager.
“I wasn’t a drinker when I first got to University. It didn’t really bother me & it didn’t seem to matter to anyone else. I know it’s a big part of the culture of students but it’s not necessary.”
“Whilst I did consume alcohol a few times in my final year, I got on fine without it. It probably helped that I was involved in many sporting societies and I find myself to be pretty outgoing in general anyway.”
Despite people believing that alcohol is the key behind forming relationships at University, there are thousands of students that enjoy student life without it.
Aman Kazmi, former student at Liverpool Hope University, was raised within a strong Muslim background, and for reasons of that faith, he does not drink alcohol.
“It’s something we believe strongly in, and I’ve never felt the need to drink alcohol at any point in my life.
“There are societies where you can make friends with similar beliefs, and there is always an alternative for everybody out there. We tend to go for meals or participate in sport instead of going to a bar.”
It just goes to prove that you don’t have to consume alcohol to have a good time at University. Don’t let this common myth put you off going into further education; there are always countless other options and things to do to help you settle in and enjoy the student life.
written by Aaron Bains