In this issue of ‘Run Away Thoughts’, Jessica Yin considers how consumption of alcohol correlates to enjoyment on a night out – could we be making better use of our free time if we ditch the booze?



Creative Commons License by Sebastian Surendar

As a reckless adrenaline junkie, I’ve made my fair share of questionable decisions in the past. However, showing up sober to Sinners ranks pretty highly on that list of less-than-intelligent life choices. I love Sinners – or at least I think I do. I don’t usually remember much of it beyond hopping around, pulling on a pair of skinny jeans whilst chugging a bottle of vodka because I missed pre-drinks and need to catch up. Then there’s the slurred conversations, shots with blurry faces at the bar, interesting dances moves against someone named Dan (I think?) and then the inevitable stumble to food – because who needs someone to love when you have cheesy chips? I remember last year I asked one of my friends who doesn’t get drunk why she hated Sinners. ‘It’s awesome!’ I screeched, while swaying slightly against the wall.

This year I understand her outlook a lot better. It’s sloppy and messy; everyone is slightly glassy-eyed and probably won’t remember spilling that drink down your brand new top tomorrow. I had the most unpleasant déja vu when I witnessed some drunken make-out sessions, because I’m afraid I’ve been the one slobbering and groping before. All conversations began with suggestions to take shots and ended with my decline of the invitation; as they walked away, I could feel myself wanting to shout to them that I was interesting, even if I had to stay sober because of a class test tomorrow. The one saving grace of the evening was my friend, who forced laughter out of me as she danced ridiculously to T-Swift blasting from the speakers. Overcoming my urge to say ‘fuck it’ to the class test and get drunk anyway, I admit to shamelessly slut dropping and dancing like the uncoordinated fool that I am without a single drop of alcohol in me – and to be honest, I had an amazing time. 

My sober experience made me question why it was that alcohol is the first thing we desperately reach for when we finally submit that last essay or manage to crawl, limp, and drag our way to the weekend. Every event advertises the availability of a free drink upon entry or at least some pretty good drink deals. Friends meet up on Fridays with plans that have not been developed beyond “we’ll see where we end up after this bottle of Southern Comfort.” I am currently planning a Christmas party and am factoring in how much money I think I’ll need in order to buy all the booze necessary to keep people happy. It’s interesting, if you think about it, how many interactions you’ll have at university while intoxicated. How many parties will you attend and not remember? How many people could you have been friends with if you had paid more attention to a conversation rather than your next shot? With so little free time and so much stress in our daily lives (scoff as you might about academic woes), is it simply a given fact that people are tired and so when we relax, we get drunk and do mindless things because our brains deserve a break and we just want to stop worrying for one night? Have we been socialised into a culture where stories about drunken misadventures and our personal record number of tequila shots are worth more than actual opinions about serious topics? Or maybe there’s just a time and place for everything; the dance floor of the Lizard is not exactly where you ask that hot guy next to you about his opinion on theology. I think in the end, alcohol is something we learn to live with as we go through university. Everyone needs that first year where you go nuts and are drunk more frequently than sober; it makes you realise how tough it actually is to drink seven days in a row. Second year comes around and suddenly things matter and you’re busy and when you’ve got a spare second, all you want to do is sleep or drink to the point of oblivion so you can pretend to be back in the easy days of first year. I think alcohol is delicious and I really wish I was legally allowed to consume mulled wine on Christmas; I think my dad probably has great taste in white wine and I’d love to see what Sauvignon Blanc would taste like when it’s bought for quality rather than its on-sale label.

I simply think that we would spend a few more free evenings walking along the beach because the North Sea shimmers like a dream in the light of the full moon. I still haven’t climbed the castle yet or snuck into the cathedral graveyard at night, so maybe one day I won’t leave my cave in the library for a bottle of tequila and will hike along East Sands instead. But to be honest, despite all my grand intentions, I’ll probably succumb to the allure of some mulled wine and drunken dancing instead.



Jessica Yin



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