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Sober Student Inspiration: Six ways to have fun without alcohol

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Dry January may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t have to mean sober activities are off the cards!

Whilst there’s a commonly held belief that being a student and getting drunk go hand in hand, many students don’t agree, with 78% saying alcohol isn’t needed to have a good night out, according to one student survey.

With that in mind, here’s some inspiration for ditching the drinks and throwing a celebration you’ll remember the next day.

Host a game night  

Gather your flatmates, housemates or course mates and revel in some friendly competition. Whether you’re after Monopoly levels of concentration or Mousetrap levels of silliness, there are countless board games, card games and video games to spend the evening playing and getting to know each other better.

Plan an activity

If you prefer to get out of your house, flat or student halls for the evening, perhaps an activity will be more up your alley. Think of laughing along with friends whilst lobbing an axe at a target, playing neon-lit crazy golf, or racing against time to solve an escape room puzzle.

All can be a lot of fun, and taking part in something as a team is a great way to break the ice and start conversations with people you may not know that well yet.

Movies and mocktails

 Would you rather have a quieter night in or find a way to celebrate while watching the pennies? Try a good old movie marathon instead.  

If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound all that interesting, there are a few different things you could do to make your movie night more of a celebration. Everyone could pick their favourite movie to watch while everyone else rates it. Or you could go for a specific genre night where everyone nominates their favourite from the category.

Grab your favourite snacks – you could even have everyone create movie-themed mocktails to share – and get ready for a cosy night in.

Go outdoors

Enjoy being in the peace and quiet of nature, where all you need is good company (and a hot drink to keep yourself warm with). This is a great opportunity to explore somewhere you haven’t had a chance to visit yet or spend an afternoon or evening with friends. Weather permitting, of course!

Host an art night

Are you a crafty bunch? You could try planning an art night instead of a traditional party and fill it with all your favourite arts and crafts. Have a great British paint-off between you and your friends, make Valentine’s or other holiday-themed crafts, or up the wholesomeness by creating gifts for one another. You’re sure to have a lot of fun and more than a few laughs while showing off your artistic skills.

Try out a low or non-alcoholic bar 

As not drinking or opting for low-alcohol drinks becomes more prevalent, so does your choice widen when going out to bars.

If you’re in student accommodation in Leeds, there are many places in and around the city centre that serve a good selection of low or non-alcoholic beers, ciders and mocktails. Earlier this year, the Functional Drinks Club opened in Otley, which is totally dedicated to low and non-alcoholic drinks. Sticking to non-alcoholic options is a great workaround for when you want to take part in a pub crawl or social gathering but without the alcohol.

And finally, remember to respect your own wishes even if others don’t. The pressure to drink can be real, especially for students, where it’s often considered the norm. If you’ve decided that you don’t want to drink a lot or are totally alcohol-free, that’s okay. You don’t need to justify yourself to others, and while it can make you feel a bit like the odd one out at a party, you’re not alone. One recent report from Drinkaware found that around 21% of young adults are non-drinkers, and another NHS survey revealed that a third of under 25s hadn’t consumed alcohol for at least a year.

Photo by Stephen Arnold on Unsplash

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