Everyone loves a good night out, including myself. The music, the lights, the people and for many, the alcohol.
With all this excitement around you, the main priority should be tokeep safe, yet this thought is sometimes overshadowed by the environment and internal and external pressures.
I remember my first clubbing experience as an extremely keen Fresher; the excitement mixed with the slight fear and the 7:30pm pre-drinks. I am certain that the majority of freshers felt the same way, though much of the night was an alcohol infused blur. After I experienced my first clubbing event, I was keen to do everything.
Every clubbing event that was held for Freshers, I went to – not even Freshers Flu and York’s freezing evening temperatures could stop me.
The nightlife in my first year was amazing and thankfully I had people around me that looked after me if I went slightly too far.
Yet as the year progressed, my motivation for going out, let alone going to pre-drinks, started to fade and I had to be persuaded to go out. Though, when I decided to have a night in, I felt extreme FOMO and internal pressure, therefore almost forcing myself to go out the next time the others would.
I do feel that party culture is emphasised to an extreme extent for university students, especially freshers. While this is not a problem at all, more needs to be done about peer and internalised pressure and safety, especially during these times.
So, why is party culture such a big part of life for freshers?
For starters, parties and clubbing events are great for helping people become social butterflies, even though their sober selves would rather cocoon themselves up. This is why university culture encourages drinking.
All freshers are in the same boat-everyone is a stranger to each other, and everyone is placed into this strange new world. Parties and social gatherings help people open up. Small talk about what subjects everyone is studying turns into laughter and blossoming friendships.
Thanks to party culture in my first year, I have met some of the best people who I hope will continue to be a big part of my life.
However, with all the fun in mind, we all need to ensure we stay wary about ours and each other’s wellbeing. Party culture, like all aspects of life, has negative side effects. Having a hangover at your 9am is often satirised and even encouraged but what about the less funny side?
With all of the good memories I carry, some of the unpleasant ones are remembered too: the nausea, the cold and ensuring your friends are safe (whilst also being inebriated yourself). Have fun, of course, but keep looking out for yourself and others.
This year, party culture will look slightly different. York’s beloved clubs have been shut for the meantime for health and safety reasons (thanks Corona). Of course, there will be pre-drinks in the kitchens – look out for drinking games such Paranoia and Ring of Fire! Please don’t actively pressure others into drinking and please don’t force yourself- know your limits!
I find that even though we have all been taught not to peer pressure and not to fall for it, it is within our human nature, and certainly rife within party culture. Stay sensible and know when to stop.
When clubs do eventually open again it is important to keep the same mindset for safety. Risk taking is found throughout student life, but sometimes, it’s not always worth it.
Now, unfortunately, over-drinking is not the only danger of party culture. COVID-19 has forced us to adapt. We now see that pubs have hand sanitizer stations and socially distanced tables. Social distancing will be tough in student kitchens so stay cautious: have a bottle of hand sanitizer on or near you. (Vodka doesn’t count!)