There he lies in the middle of his flat corridor. Nauseous. Clammy handed. Just conscious. Somewhere in between 11:25 and 11:30, the colour of his face transmutes from a jovial glow, to a shade of green meant only for prison canteen walls. He is no longer able to finish the rest of his raspberry Sours –never mind the speed at which he downed it.
‘Last night of freshers! Go hard or go home mate!’
His friends try and persuade, but they receive only a meek nod from him in return. Is his toga still on? No, he had to take it off to streak during of Ring of Fire. He attempts to rise. The feeling isn’t so bad… For a second he thinks he can make it! Yes! He is going to make it out after all!
This timeless process occurs on an infinite loop in universities across the country during fresher’s week and is probably transpiring as I write. Who can blame students trying to desperately make friends while drowning their insecurities in a bottle of Tesco Value? They’re in an alien city, surrounded by new people and Northerners with funny accents. Binge drinking seems to be the unparalleled modus operandi for this feat.
Except is it though? Undoubtedly a few beers and even spirits can be a great intermediary to friend-making; impelling desirable effects like faux confidence in the shyest of us while also reducing self-awareness to a level where crippling anxiety is temporarily forgotten. However, the effects of binge drinking are much more sinister, and are often overlooked. This -coupled with students experiencing life free from the shackles of parental-rule for the first time- unfortunately means for many, freshers is spent comatose with lost memories.
A recent study found that 15% of a UK sample of 3,075 students drank at hazardous drinking levels of 51 or more units per week for men and 36 or more units for women. To add to this, The British Medical Association underlined the potential long-term impact of such excessive drinking. A spokesperson said, “The over-consumption of alcohol causes serious health problems and is responsible for numerous health care costs including the treatment of alcohol dependence.” She also suggested that student binge drinking “sets the ground for alcoholism in the future”.
Binge drinking is a serious problem that affects students. And yes, it also part of a much wider, national problem that does not originate in student communities, however, the government should focus on national education programmes that teach young people about the safe consumption of alcohol and should encourage universities to deliver lectures on the topic, especially during freshers week, where many students need this advice more than ever.