Drinking is fun. Dancing with a cup in your hand and few inhibitions is also fun. Dancing to songs about drinking while drinking is even more fun. In college, I have learned many things, some academic and some social. One thing that I have learned is that as much as alcohol can make ordinary situations seem extraordinary, it can also make so many situations less purposeful.
Although when people are drinking they are very social, alcohol reduces our ability to be social without its help. If you go to a party and their keg is tapped, you leave. If you can’t run to the liquor store to buy Burnett’s to pregame with, you fail to see the point in going out at all. Without alcohol, so many college students struggle to make connections, and with alcohol so few connections are meaningful.
I get it, few people want to go to a party in a grimy basement while wearing layered garbage bags while sober. Even fewer people want to be plopped in this unpleasant situation if all of their friends are wasted. When I look back at my college career thus far there are situations involving drinking that stick out in my mind as memorable experiences (again, I would like to acknowledge that drinking is fun). However, there are even more experiences that I have had without the presence of alcohol that are much more memorable and have been much more rewarding.
Such a big part of being a college student is growing—intellectually and socially. Although going out and drinking all of the time can teach you a few things about yourself (mixing cheap sangria with vodka and cinnamon is not a good idea,) it is hard to mentally flourish while under this damaging influence. There is nothing wrong with going to a party, having a few drinks and letting loose on the dance floor—but change it up from time to time! No one likes complete predictability. Here are some rad suggestions of fun things that you can do without alcohol:
1. Go on a day/night trip: Put some gas in your tank and drive somewhere. (Please make sure to actually put gas in your tank as this is a key step that I often forget.) Go to New Hope, NYC, Philly, the beach, a farmer’s market, or Lancaster County. If you need any coupons for horse and buggy rides while in Lancaster, hit me up.
2. Weird N.J.: Check out WeirdNJ.com and try to find some of the places on the site.
3. Go for a hike: there are a ton of great park systems in the area with beautiful places to hike. There is nothing more peaceful than being surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature.
4. Go geocaching: It's sorta like hiking, but even better! Geocaching is known as “the world’s largest treasure hunt.” Check out GeoCaching.com, enter your location, and find treasures hidden near you! Now you can hike and get some swag while you’re at it.
5. Go star-gazing: drive around until you find an empty field, lay down a blanket, and look up. It’s simple and entertaining.
6. Conduct a social experiment: Go to a place with a lot of people (Shoprite for example) and do something weird and borderline socially-unacceptable to see how people react. At first it may take some guts but you’ll get a crazy adrenaline rush.
7. Dance: Dancing doesn’t always have to involve Lil Jon bumping as a strange boy breathes down your neck. Any floor can be a dance floor!
Due to the fact that the list of things you can do without drinking goes on and on, this list will go on and on (with less explanation because I don’t want to get early-onset carpal tunnel.) Prepare yourself.
8. Have a tea party.
9. Go to a concert.
10. Play “Heads Up.”
11. Go camping.
12. Read a book.
13. Learn something new.
14. Play a sport.
15. Play a video game.
16. Make a playlist on Spotify.
16. Get a haircut.
17. Pee outside.
18. Play ping pong.
20. Netflix and chill.
21. Netflix and relax (please note the difference).
22. Go to a comedy show.
23. Go to the beach.
24. Go to the mall.
25. Get a ton of free samples at the mall.
26. Go to the moon (no idea is a bad idea).
27. Make smoothies.
28. Go to an amusement park.
29. Go rollerblading.
30. Learn how to rap “Look at Me Now.”
31. Create a music video to “Look at Me Now.”
32. Become an internet sensation because of your great music video to “Look at Me Now.”
33. Listen to recorder renditions of your favorite songs (example provided).
34. Have a marshmallow gun fight.
35. Have a nerf gun fight.
36. Have a light saber fight.
37. Go fishing.
38. Paint your nails.
39. Paint your friends’ nails.
40. Stick a safety pin through the top layer of your skin.
41. Get a piercing (or two).
42. Get a tattoo (or two).
43. Eat Oreos and milk.
44. Write poetry.
46. Play the game where you take a knife and stab the table between your fingers really quickly.
47. ZAP! Someone. (For reference).
48. Go to/create a bonfire.
49. Call a radio station to request a song or just to chat.
50. Ride a tandem bicycle.
51. Be a vigilante.
If you haven't caught on already, there are a ton of things that you can do that are fun and above the influence. So go to that crazy party of Friday night. But on Saturday, see how many things you can check off this list!
A special thanks to the gnarly people that contributed to the making of this list.