If there is one thing that comes to the minds of most people when they are asked to think about college campuses, is partying. Yes, of course, they will think about books and lecturers - all education - but there is no denying that college campuses and a party culture have always gone hand in hand. For many young adults, it’s their first taste of freedom, and a lot of them do what they can to let their hair down and make the most of it. Often, this means partying.
It is fair to say that staying sober on campus is not always something that comes easily to many students. That being said, not everyone on campus is the stereotypical media portrayal of a rowdy, drunken co-ed with a substance problem and very little educational attainment. More students than ever are deciding to stay sober.
If you are a student who is looking to stay sober on campus, it can be a hard thing to achieve, quite simply, because there will be so much temptation put in your way. You may feel that you’re being looked at as a spoilsport or a stick in the mud if you don’t join in. This peer pressure may not go away when you leave high school.
What do you do if you are a student who wants to get the full college experience without succumbing to alcohol or other substances? A dry campus could be just the answer you are looking for.
It’s basically exactly what it sounds like! A dry campus is under a college or university policy where the consumption, possession, and distribution of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on campus grounds, regardless of the individual's age. So, even people living on campus who are over 21 will not be permitted to drink alcohol or even have it in their possession on the school grounds. The purpose of such policies is to promote a safer and more focused academic environment for everyone who lives and studies there.
Whether you are living on a sober campus or not, there are some simple things you can do that will help you in your efforts to stay sober on campus, including the following:
Okay, so this one might be tough, but if you are serious about staying sober on campus, then it might be a good idea (at least in the early days) to avoid going to bars and parties, especially if you know there will be substances on offer and a particularly wild crowd. There will, of course, be dry parties and get-togethers and you should definitely head out to those, because college is all about meeting new people and having fun together. However, those rowdy parties might be worth dodging for now.
If you do not want to fall off the wagon, then it’s important that you learn how to recognize your triggers - the things that make you want to drink or use drugs. This could be the stress of a particularly difficult paper, certain friends who are a bad influence on you, homesickness, or any number of things. Find out what they are so you can act quickly to replace turning to substances with a healthier coping mechanism – like exercise – instead.
Keeping busy is a great way to keep sober on campus because, when you are suitably distracted and engaged in activity, you will be less likely to ruminate over alcohol or drugs. Joining a sports team or campus activity can also help you make friends and stave off depression, which can lead many students back to substances.
We’re not saying you need to ditch all of your former friends if they drink, but having friends who are just as sober as you are on campus is a good way of finding support. They will understand your struggles – and theirs – and what’s more, there will be less peer pressure.
Watch where the crowd’s headed on popular party nights, and who is going. If you want to avoid alcohol-centric events, pick people who tend to go out to a movie marathon or a late-night dessert outing, instead of those who are always hitting the bars.
Campuses often offer a plethora of support resources. Don’t hesitate to tap into these – counseling services, helplines, or support groups. If you’ve been in rehab, you will also have a bunch of resources from your counselors, so use them!
Rehab offers invaluable tools to manage triggers and build healthy routines from mindfulness to CBT and everything in between. This isn't just textbook knowledge; it's practical wisdom you can use every day. So, if you’re serious about staying sober on campus, put what you’ve learned into action every day.
Although there is no doubt that it can be challenging to stay sober on campus when so many of the people around you are drinking and partying into the night, it is possible. If you have the right support, the right resources, and the right people around you, not to mention the possibility of living on a dry campus, then you can do it! But, if you do find it hard, do not hesitate to get in touch with the professionals at Jackson House Rehab. We are here to support you on your journey as you stay sober on campus.