Having a fun, sober night out


a jug of lemonade Photo credit: Andrea Nebhut

Illustration by Andrea Nebhut

I have a confession to make.

I have never been to a party. As in, a “real” party with red solo cups, loud music and awkward gyrating that somehow passes as dancing.

I’ve seen pictures in my Instagram feed of people in sparkly outfits posing in a dark room, and I’ve gotten the Snapchat videos from intoxicated friends at 1 a.m. Realizing everyone I know is at a party while I’m at home makes me not only want to be at the party, but it makes me feel like I need to be at the party.

But I’ve been told repeatedly by friends and classmates that a party isn’t worth going to if I don’t drink enough to enjoy it. And I intend to never drink alcohol in my life.

For those of us who choose not to drink, our social life is drastically different than the stereotypical college experience. Drinking is a force with a hold so strong on young people that even when I choose to abstain, I feel like I’m somehow less of a social person who doesn’t deserve to have a fun Friday night.

In reality, I love to be around people. I love high energy events with dancing and getting a scratchy throat from yelling and laughing over the loud music. I just don’t think I would love a party that apparently I have to be drunk to appreciate. If the party sucks so bad that I have to use alcohol to make it fun, I’m happy to stay in my dorm room all night.

What’s hard for sober college students like me is realizing that our weekend nights don’t have to consist of either getting wasted in a hot, sweaty room or sitting in our room alone. There’s plenty of things to do to make the night enjoyable while sober, but the typical college experience tells us otherwise.

If you are also staying away from alcohol or are just looking for a way to spend your weekend evenings besides going out to get wasted, here are some ideas to take a break from the party scene.

1. Target runs

You’re lying to yourself if you say you don’t love aimlessly wandering through Target filling your cart with random things you don’t need. Spending too much money never feels better than at Target with friends trying on clothes, playing with kids’ toys and buying enough junk food for the next four years. You might think a Target run isn’t enough to fill an evening, but take your cart into the shoes and clothes section and get back to me.

2. Homework

It sounds lame, but getting a chunk of homework done on Friday night feels so much better than doing it on Sunday night. If your friends are busy, find a spot on campus, bring some snacks and knock out the busywork on your to-do list. Watching Netflix or listening to music makes it more enjoyable, and after you cross all the assignments off your list, you’ll feel so productive and be able to enjoy your weekend.

3. Game night

If you’re exhausted from the week and don’t want to leave your room, round up some board games and a deck of cards and have a game night. Order in food and relax. If you’re feeling really tired, go for a mind-numbing game like Sorry or Slapjack; if you’re feeling competitive, go for a strategy game; and if you’re with a big group, try a group game like Mafia.

4. Laundry

The perfect time to do laundry with no stress is on a Friday night when the last thing anyone wants to do is chores. Try to do all of your laundry at once if no one else is using the machines to take less time and set timers to change your laundry out before it sits and gets too wrinkly. Listen to a podcast or watch a show while you put your laundry away and sleep soundly knowing you have all the clothes you want to wear for the weekend clean.

5. Movie marathon

Rent a movie series like Harry Potter or Star Wars and watch them all back-to-back. This can be a post-Target run activity, too, if you stocked up on popcorn and candy. Grab a bunch of blankets and pillows to make a cozy fort with your friends where you can lay back and watch your movies of choice.

6. Sleep

Be honest with yourself. It’s been a long week. You’re tired. Every day this week you’ve thought to yourself how badly you want to go to bed but you had to stay up to do homework. You have no reason to stay up if you don’t want to, so listen to your body and get some sleep. The weekend will be there for you tomorrow.