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A drinkless guide to freshers week

Teetotal? Can’t bear the taste of booze? Fancy a night out without the accompanied agony of a splitting headache in the morning? Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered on how to navigate the first few weeks at university without the drinks.

Recent studies show that 1 in 5 students do not drink, suggesting that we as a society have moved past the idea of Freshers being a shot-filled student sphere synonymous to literally any mid-noughties’ sitcom set on a university campus. Finding your feet in a new environment can be daunting, so here are some ways to help you make the most of your first few weeks at Queen Mary.

Check out campus events
The Welcome Fair is a fab way to see all the societies, sports clubs, volunteering groups and student media outlets in one place. Check out all the activities on offer and take advantage of freebies given away by national companies and QMSU outlets.

Another great event to rock up to is QMSU’s very own speed meeting on Monday 16th September in the Blomeley Rooms & The Nest where you can make mates over the mutual awkwardness of being a fresher.

Make the most of what’s to offer in London
With a fantastic number of renowned art galleries, trendy shopping destinations, Instagram-worthy food markets and quality entertainment venues right on your doorstep, there’s always something to see and do in London. The best part about having a university campus in the heart of vibrant East London is that you’re only a stone’s throw away from thriving cultural hotspots, so it’s impossible to ever find yourself stuck on ideas on what to do. And the best part? QMSU has exclusive access and co-ordinated meetups to London must-see sights, going from the classic West End musicals (e.g. tickets from £20 to see The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre, 7:30pm on 17 th September) to the quirky East End streets (tickets at £6 for an hour at Zap Space trampoline park, 2pm on 23 rd September).

Commit to be fit
Whether you’re a complete newbie looking to take up a new sport or an elite athlete in need of somewhere new to train, Queen Mary offers a range of activities with fantastic facilities in a safe and welcoming environment for all. Head down to the Get Active Festival on Tuesday 17th September from midday to 4pm at Library Square and have a go at arcade basketball, football, panna cage or touch tennis to name a few.

Go to Drapers events without drinking
Contrary to popular belief, you can still enjoy yourself on a night out at Drapers and skip the whole hassle of googling hangover cures in the morning. Being teetotal doesn’t have to mean that nights-out at Drapers are a no-go in the same way that enjoying a drink doesn’t mean that you don’t also enjoy a night-in curled up in bed watching Netflix. Surround yourself with friends who are on the same page and make you feel comfortable.

After Freshers, it’s worth bearing in mind that Hail Mary is our biggest club night at Drapers and takes place on the last Wednesday of every month – turn up to see QM’s sports teams celebrate their successes and countdown to the infamous Hail Mary video at midnight.

Stay healthy
You can never have too many Day & Night Nurses during your first few weeks of university. Freshers flu is truly no laughing matter. Also, whilst on the topic of health and the general theme of surviving Freshers, make sure to sign up for the free meningitis jab with your GP! As a new university student, you’re at higher risk of infection as you mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria.

Stay safe
If you have a night out that’s closer to central, always try to go home in numbers, never alone. Plan your way back home by downloading the Citymapper app and also make sure to download UBER for when buses or tubes stop running to avoid paying extortionate black cab fares.

Stay true to yourself
Without trying to sound like an overzealous youth pastor, or like the kind of weird-but- wholesome meme your mum might share on Facebook, the most important thing to remember is to stay true to yourself. University is so much more than just Freshers, so don’t stress yourself over whether or not your decision not to drink is in any way whatsoever an indicator for how the course of the next three years are going to go. Just be unapologetically yourself and don’t feel as if you need to be insecure or worried about what others may think about your personal choices – everybody else is in the same situation, fitting in is just an illusion.

So go off and enjoy your Freshers festivities; make unforgettable memories; and relish in all the random bursts of moments where you remember that you’re actually at university now doing a whole damn degree, instead of reading this article that is feebly floundering towards its last sentence in despair for the sweet release of a simple full stop.

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