Not drinking in college: 21 and (mostly) sober

I’m 21 and I don’t drink.

You read that right. The unpopular opinion. I don’t go to Ticket Tuesdays at the Ocean Mist,Chuck Mondays at Charlie O’s Tavern, or Bonvue Thursdays at the Bonvue Inn. I’ve been 21 for a solid four months and have yet to hop on the bandwagon of drinking on a school night.

My prime time was in the summer and I had my fun, but with school back in session, I don’t see a reason to drink. I’ll preface this by saying I’m not trying to downgrade people for going out and drinking, I just have a different perspective. Here’s why.

If you think about it, your average drink costs about $7. If you decide to have multiple, you could rack up your bill to over $20. Then you decide you’re going to buy a drink for your friend because it’s her birthday, so now we’re inching closer to $30. To finish off the night, you decide to have one last drink, and you ask to close out your tab. After tipping your bartender, which you should always do, your total can amount to over $40. For one night, only a few hours, you just spent more than a full week’s worth of gas money. And then you do it again two nights later. But wait, your buddy’s holding a party this weekend so you have to hit the liquor store. Your average 30-pack of cheap beer costs around $23. For one week, if you actually pay the amount averaged above, you’d be spending close to $150. On alcohol. In one week. On something that made you sit next to a toilet for an hour, wake up with a massive hangover, or blackout because you drank too much. And if you don’t have a free ride, you’ve got to factor in the Uber fee.

As someone who works multiple jobs in order to pay my rent and endless bills, I can’t wrap my head around that lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, some of my closest friends go out every night of the week and I still love them. I work part-time as a server, so I know how much people can spend on drinks alone. I’ve taken Uber rides and even split four ways can add up, especially if it’s surging hour.

I’d love to be able to go out and have fun with friends. I’d love to be able to dance around and not care about anything that night. But there are so many other options to have a good time and possibly do it for free. You can experience the high of happiness without the price tag and regrets the next morning. You can do it every night, for as long as you want with no last calls.

I’ve got my whole life to drink, and it’s just beginning. I only have one year left in college to prove myself to the career world and I’m not going to spend it at bars three nights a week.

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Kerri Tallman
Overachiever and overtired. Former architecture student, current senior double major in Journalism and Communication Studies. A true Rhode Islandah, she’s lived all over the state and knows the best chowdah in town.