Confession: A Student Who Hates Clubbing

I’m a student.

I hate clubbing.

In the eyes of Western society and its stereotypes, these two statements don’t really jell. They clash; they’re discordant; they’re puzzle pieces that not only don’t fit but are from two different puzzles… Well, so it would seem.

Generally speaking, I’m quite good at knowing what I will and won’t like. Despite plenty of persuasion, as a now 20-year-old I put off going clubbing for 2 whole years because I knew I’d absolutely despise it, and I was right. Bear in mind that I’ve only actually been clubbing twice. After the second time, when I found myself at 5am retching and heaving over a toilet seat even though there was nothing left to throw up but bile, remorse and my own stomach lining, oddly enough, it put me off a tad. And since then, I’m quite happy to say I haven’t found myself in a club again. In fact, I’m noticing that the older I get, the less I like getting drunk anyway – I become a brash, obnoxious prick wandering around like a lonely lemon, challenging people to arm wrestles (then losing).

Personally, I find the whole club thing counter-productive. Why bother spending two hours on perfect make-up and feeling fierce in a sparkly mini-dress if you’re going to come home smelling like fried food and vodka, splashes of booze on your clothes, looking like you just walked off the set of a M Night Shyamalan movie?

Am I weird for hating clubbing? Not really, to be honest.

The truth is, (and please note that the tone of the following sentence is very biased) being a student who doesn’t enjoy getting dolled up, ‘wasted’ and dancing to subpar music in a sweaty, cramped, dark dungeon isn’t as unconventional as society would have us believe.

It’s simply a narrative you hear less of because “young people” (I hate that phrase) feel embarrassed to admit it, often for fear of being viewed as boring or anti-social. Nonetheless, all you need to do is type something along the lines of ‘student who hates clubbing’ into Google to be bombarded with tons of threads about the issue. In many of these threads, people, particularly in their first year, admit to going out because they felt obligated to do so or thought it would help them get closer to their flatmates. And they’re kind of right. Going to town, or ‘the sesh’ as it’s now been dubbed (seriously, who came up with that?), is pretty much the main way students initially bond, especially during the infamous ‘Fresher’s Week’. And God knows I bloody hated Fresher’s Week.

This means that if you’re not up for ‘the sesh’ (urgh), it can make it really quite difficult at first to bond with your flatmates and meet new people. So maybe for some students, ‘the sesh’ is the elephant in the room. Maybe ‘sesh’ is to ‘student’ as ‘lager’ is to ‘man’ .i.e. pretending to like it for fear of being the only one who doesn’t… I’m just kidding…

Here is a list of a few other things I hate about clubbing:
–          Even if you’re drunk as f**k, it’s still somehow awkward
–          Most people can’t dance to save their life
–          The music’s too loud for my tiny ears
–          The toilets can be really grimy
–          Long toilet queues
–          Often there’s a fee (sometimes up to a bloody fiver!) just to get in a club
–          The drinks in the club aren’t cheap
–          Observing others who look uncomfortable, bored or lonely
–          Taxis are expensive
–          Groping, especially if the recipient clearly isn’t into it
–          The pressure (especially if you’re a girl) to look a certain way
–          Losing the people you came with, even temporarily
–          Sending embarrassing texts you later regret
–          For some reason, the night seems to go on forever and ever and ever

Unfortunately, most Universities themselves sell this idea of ‘student culture’: rampant adolescents finally free from the shackles of their previously restrictive lives; partying every night until the wee hours; spending most of their student loan on booze; having a string of meaningless, sometimes experimental one-night stands. And while I agree that there is undoubtedly an overwhelming element of independence and sense of freedom that you get from being at Uni, these can be reflected in so many ways, not just through suddenly becoming a walking bottle of Vodka.

Not to mention, isn’t the whole point of University being in a ‘melting-pot’ of people from all different backgrounds and walks of life? Seems laughable to assume that such a variety of individuals are all going to like the same things and have the same experiences.

In all seriousness, what Universities don’t realize is that by doing this they’re isolating a huge proportion of their own students. And some of the ones they aren’t isolating, they’re indoctrinating. Many Universities just don’t cater enough to those who are less interested in a ‘wild’ night-life. Frankly, last term I did give in to the idea that something must be wrong with me to not enjoy going out, because it appeared (falsely) like I was the only one. I became quite affected by the thought that people were viewing me as a boring person. I convinced myself that I was a boring person. I wanted to want to go out, but I couldn’t force myself to like something which I didn’t. It’s not even that I was holding back or not fully letting my hair out.

Rather, when I was dancing in the darkness like a limp banana, I felt totally untrue to myself. The supposed joy behind every clumsy, uncoordinated move I made was faked – all I could think about was being back in bed, and that maybe if I kept drinking the experience would improve.

I’ve since realized how silly I was.

It’s totally okay if, on a Friday night, I’d legitimately rather stay in re-watching episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia cosy in my dressing gown, eating chips with guacamole and chilli sauce. That’s fine! Not just fine, it’s great!

For the record, in no way am I acting as if I’m somehow superior because I don’t enjoy clubbing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking clubbing – it doesn’t make you any less intelligent or hard-working or thoughtful than someone who doesn’t. But I feel like people already know and accept that. There is, however, something wrong with the false rhetoric that partying and getting drunk is a primary element of everybody’s University experience (at least as an undergraduate). I feel like a lot of people don’t really know or accept this. But maybe that’s my paranoia talking.

If you’re reading this as a student who doesn’t like clubbing or excessive drinking, sometimes you might feel like you’re the only one. This couldn’t be further from the truth; we aren’t even a small minority. You’ll quickly find that a lot of people you talk to are in the same boat. And, who knows? Maybe over time you might change. Maybe in 3 months I’ll be the life and soul of every party, or maybe not. Either way is okay.

Here’s to all student introverts! You’re brilliant as you are (which is probably curled up watching Netflix, don’t lie).