It's Ok If You Don't Want to Drink or Party at UCSB

We all know UCSB’s reputation. When people hear you’re planning on coming here for school, the first thing they ask is, "Are you gonna party hard?!”

We’ve been known as an intense party school, and after coming here I’ve seen that it truly lives up to that reputation. However, that wasn’t a reason for why I wanted to attend. I haven’t had a strong urge to go patrolling Del Playa in Isla Vista every weekend, stopping at multiple parties in a night. As much as it seems like everyone here goes out, there’s actually many people who choose not to.

I don’t think I’ve heard people talk about “blacking out” or “pulling from a bottle of vodka” more times in my life than I have this week. People talk about it like it’s a completely normal and satisfactory thing to do each weekend. But is it really? Blacking out is when you’re literally too drunk to remember what happened. To me, that doesn’t sound appealing in the slightest. I’d rather be buzzed and remember having a fun time than be completely wasted and forget everything. Not only is it a lot to be putting your body through, but it can also have an affect on your school performance (unless you’re one of those irritating people who party 24/7 yet still manage to get straight A’s). But to each their own.

For example, when I’m at a party and someone goes… 

Image via Giphy

 

I’m usually like… 

Image via Giphy

 

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy having a few drinks with friends on occasion; it can definitely be fun. But more often than not, I’ll decide to stay home in my safe space than go out, and that’s OK. No one should feel ashamed to admit that.

After doing the mandatory alcohol education program (yes, I paid attention to that), I learned that only about 17% of students here actually drink frequently. It comforted me to know that I’m not the only one opting out of partying all the time. I believe students here feel a lot of pressure to drink until they’re obliterated each weekend, even though half of them most likely regret it or never wanted to in the first place. Unfortunately, most people who drink in college do so to fit in and find a sense of belonging. It’s the mindset of “everyone’s doing it, so I should too.” But get honest with yourself. Do you truly enjoy it? Because if not, there are plenty of other ways to have fun, make friends, relieve stress, and get involved at UCSB. It can be scary to be honest with your friends that you don’t want to drink or go out, but it’s worth it if it’ll make your experience here more enjoyable and comfortable. Friends who judge you, pressure you, or stop being friends with you for not drinking aren’t real friends in the first place. Find people who will respect your decisions and support you. 

Your decision to party or not at UCSB is a valid one and remember, you’re not alone!