As a (pretty much) non-drinker, going to events in Cambridge can be a fairly daunting task that requires a prepared speech, excuses and caffeine to stay awake. Although Cambridge is a decidedly easier place than some other universities to be a teetotal student, almost every event does carry the expectation that people will be consuming alcohol.
Students seem to think you can’t socialise without being drunk, that people couldn’t possibly talk to each other sober, let alone make new friends. I’ve seen people that I live with sit in the corridor, drink vodka from the bottle, and then just go to bed because they’re too drunk to make it out. That’s just depressing.
Having said that, Cambridge is by no means the worst culprit. Given that in Leeds you can get three shots for a fiver, and club entry for even less, it’s safe to say that Cambridge students have it relatively tough if they want to drink continuously, on the bank balance at the very least. Plus, the nature of tripos means you just cannot work with a permanent hangover, and the likelihood here is that the work comes first, at least some of the time.
I’m relatively lucky in the fact that there are girls on my corridor who don’t like to drink either, but even though there is a group of us it doesn’t change the way the comments about tap water and being boring make me feel. I’m pretty sure I’m more fun when I’m not being carried home, and when I can wake up and laugh about the night before rather than ask what happened.
I’m not saying don’t drink, I’m merely saying that for me, being so drunk that the entire world has seen me vomit on Facebook isn’t particularly enticing. So, when we all trundle in from a night out, I’ll tuck up in bed with the smug satisfaction that tomorrow morning I’ll be chirpy while my friends sit around staring into mugs of tea in the hopes they’ll find the answer to their essay crisis/hangover from hell mashup in there.
And they never do.