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When I first decided that I wanted to transfer to CU, my resident advisor told me, “Hannah, you realize that CU is the top party school in the nation, right?”
Typical college weekends usually involve dressing up and prowling the streets at night looking for a party, and Boulder is no different. Come Thursday night, people are out and ready to rage.
Except for me.
I do not partake in “the Drank.” I am clumsy enough and have enough blonde moments for at least three drunkards staggering up the Hill, thank you very much. I don’t like how alcohol tastes and I hate how it smells. I have never understood how, out of all of the wonderful beverages that exist, one would want to chug down something that smells like nail polish remover and tastes like the heat from the blacktop.
Now, before you get defensive, I want to say that I have no judgments against those who choose to drink. Your body, your decision. However, I feel like I can’t possibly be the only person out there who thinks that alcohol isn’t the only way to have a good time. In fact, I know I’m not. But I also know how the college scene works: most people who don’t drink end up buckling because of massive amounts of peer pressure and the discomfort of being the only sober person. People chalk it up to the “college experience,” thinking they’re young and they might as well get it out of their system now.
That is totally okay. Still, not all of us are into that sort of thing. I know you’re out there – yeah, I’m talking to you: the kid holding a drink, prepared to take the plunge because everyone else is doing it, even when your whole body is screaming for you not to. Put that red cup down for a second and think this through with me.
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a reason for not wanting to drink. You’ve got an exam the next day, your parents are coming to visit, there isn’t another designated driver available, or maybe you just don’t feel like it. Whatever the circumstance, remember that there are times to be open-minded. But then again, there are times to stick to your guns. This is one of those times. Think of alcohol as fire: you can’t play around with it without suffering from a few burns. So, if there’s a nagging part of your brain telling you that drinking is not a good idea, it probably isn’t. Listen to yourself and trust your instincts. You’ll thank yourself later.
That being said, I know how hard it is to be the only sober one at the party. Sometimes it feels like the more people drink, the pushier they become. There are a couple options for avoiding this discomfort: Carry a red cup around and pretend to sip from it every so often, or grab a Mountain Dew. If you have a drink in your hand, people will be less likely to ask if you want another. If you really don’t want to stay sober alone, ask one of your friends if they’ll join you.
Another really important thing to remember is this: Don’t let your friends or classmates take advantage of the fact that you choose to stay sober. There is nothing wrong with being the designated driver or for looking out for your friends. But there’s a fine line between monitoring someone occasionally and being the designated babysitter every weekend. It’s okay to say no if your friends are ready to shred it up and you just feel like watching Pixar movies and eating take-out.
And to my sober friends out there, remember that there are other things to do that don’t involve booze. We’re in Boulder after all, so soak it up. Go to Pearl Street and window shop. Go to the movies, or watch them in the comfort of your room. Catch up on sleep. Go out with other sober friends. Play night tag on Ferrand, or go on a night hike. If you’re feeling really adventurous, go to Denver.
Having fun does not come from what you consume. It comes from who you’re with and what you’re doing. Staying sober can be pretty awesome. You won’t be sick, you’ll remember everything you did the night before and you won’t get a ticket for Minor In Possession.
Now pass me my virgin Pina Colada.
Contact Independent Staff Writer Hannah Morrison at Hamo7004@colorado.edu.