I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy to most of you, but this is a real story of a sorority girl who didn’t drink for most of her entire time in college and still managed to have the time of her life. I am that girl, and here is my story.
As a young, impressionable senior in high school, I made a decision that would impact my social life for all four (okay, six) years of undergrad. I decided to attend a conservative Christian university in the south with a dry campus and an alcohol ban. I chose my school for many reasons – the campus was gorgeous, it had a great program for my major, and it has a fantastic reputation in the community, which has impressed interviewers for years afterward. I stand by that decision to this day because of all of the great memories it gave me and the fantastic networking opportunities it continues to provide. But what choosing this school meant was that I was going to have to make a big stand on something that isn’t even a contested issue at the majority of college campuses around the nation: whether or not I should drink.
As a dry campus, drinking was a point of contention among many people. We were sorted into the “drinkers” and the “non-drinkers.” The drinkers were known for being irresponsible and were shamed all over campus. The non-drinkers were known as judgmental tattletales. Some people chose to become drinkers for fear of being seen as being snooty and better than everyone else. Some people started for fear of looking like a loser by saying no to a drink. And some of us decided that, in spite of all of these things, they weren’t going to drink because it just wasn’t the right decision for them.
I made the decision to be a non-drinker. For me, it started as a religious decision, but that wasn’t the case for everyone. Some people just didn’t want to drink underage. Some had had bad experiences in the past, either personally or with family members, and decided to skip the questionable hunch punch at parties. At first, I worried that by not drinking, I was missing out on an invaluable part of college. I worried that I would never have fun. I worried that, in a few years, I would really regret this decision, but I never did.
Eventually, I started drinking, albeit much more lightly than my peers, halfway through college at 20 and have had plenty of great memories fueled by alcohol. I’ve also done many stupid things I regret that had nothing to do with alcohol whatsoever. But what I learned was that I had just as much fun not drinking as the people that did drink. I stayed up all night with my friends. I laughed…a lot. I fell in love and I fell out of love. I took approximately 7510987 pictures, not counting the ones we deleted. I went on road trips. I fell in love with my life. I made best friends that will last forever, I had the time of my life, and I didn’t drink.
So if you’re like me and you’ve made the decision not to drink yet, know that it will be ok. Know that there are plenty of us like you out there, we just probably aren’t screaming it from the rooftops. Know that nothing is missing from your college experience. Know that no matter what, you’ll have the time of your life during the four years you’ll never forget. And know that you don’t have to drink to have a great time in college..