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In Defence of Staying In

The inspiration for this piece came after reading a recent Tab article titled ‘If you hate going out, you need better friends’. As someone who is not fond of going out, be it to a club, bar, or party, I was actually angry that this person was saying it’s because I don’t have the right friends. A person can have a very good relationship with any number of friends while the choice to not go out is nothing to do with them, often, it is simply personal. The individual who chooses to go out isn’t necessarily trying to be ‘edgy’, or been on a gap year to ‘find themselves’.

The main issue with people shaming those who don’t go out is that people often have a valid reason. According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental illness in their life time, with mixed anxiety and depression being the most common. For these people, sometimes the idea of having to go out, talk to a lot of people, enter the cramped, sweaty conditions of a nightclub is not fun. Having to meet society’s standards of ‘fun’ can add a lot of pressure to people already struggling.  Add that to the general stress of university and it really becomes the opposite of fun. For anyone who is generally more shy and introverted going out takes a massive effort: the pre psyching-up session in the mirror, the pre-prepared conversation topics, the fear that people do not want you there – it can be incredibly overwhelming. And that’s just with your friends. The terror of entering a night club even with your closest friend can be overwhelming and it’s not their fault. It’s not anyone’s fault.

Now, often the response to these anxieties is ‘to drink more’. However, for some, feeling sick and out of control does little to help, and can only make them feel worse, and it can be difficult to find joy in passing out in the Kasbah toilet, even for the most experienced partiers. A hangover the next morning can often induce ‘comedown’ symptoms – anyone who has experienced this can testify to the anxious misery this entails. And as uptight as it sounds, constantly missing lectures and seminars the next day due to being hungover is a bad habit to get into, and doesn’t serve as good grounds for an extension either!  

Another factor which some fail to consider is that of the financial strain going out puts on some students. The drinks, the takeout, the cab, the cost of a new pair of heels when you lose one or a new dress when someone spills a drink on it – it all adds up. For those who really have to make the most of their student loan, it can be embarrassing to have to turn down nights out, let’s not make things worse for them by passing the blame onto who they choose to spend time with.

This article already anticipates some of the conventional responses: “You’re only young once,” “You’ve got to go out,” “You’ve got to have fun”; Is it so hard to accept that everyone’s definition of fun is different? Some people like to save their money and have fun travelling the world. Some people’s fun is staying in and reading a book. Some people’s fun is collecting stamps. There is no one overriding definition of fun. The common ground here is that everyone at university would rather spend their time doing whatever they enjoy with whomever they feel comfortable.   

Feminist and clothes enthusiast studying History at the University of Warwick! My insta is @molly_rose_ws
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