Freshers has many stereotypes associated with it, and a lot of those revolve around heavy binge drinking and other… substances. But if you’re not really feeling that, and you’d rather stay away from the cheap Glen’s vodka, then you’re in luck! We’ve got a list of 15 fun sober things to do during freshers!
1. Join societies
Every university has societies for students, and usually, there’s something for everyone. So whether you want to play a game of quidditch or learn some new baking recipes from other like-minded bakers, there’ll be a society for you. Most societies have hangouts each week called ‘socials’, wherein they go and have a meeting and often follow this up with a pub visit or club night. You don’t have to go to the drinking part, but even if you do, you can enjoy a soft drink alongside your society peers! These also look great later in life and are a guaranteed way to make sure you and your new friends have things in common.
2. Make a ‘cafe crawl’
Whilst all the other freshers are venturing off on a pub crawl, why don’t you and some of your flatmates or friends plan a cafe crawl? Choose the best cafes throughout your new city and avoid the standard chains like Costa, Starbucks, and Pret. Instead, try a bit of coffee and cake in each of the new cafes you find, and spend your day finding your new favourite study date location for the next few years!
3. Have a movie night
Choose a night when your flatmates don’t have anything on and organise a movie night! If you’ve got a TV, then just all choose a few films to watch, or if you’ve not got a communal television, buy a cheap projector online for your laptop or phone and turn the kitchen or lounge into a cinema. All chip in for some snacks or some pizza, and you’ll have a great night that will bring you closer as a flat. What more could you want?
4. Go to a pub quiz
We know, we said sober, but you don’t have to drink at the pub. You can enjoy some mocktails or soft drinks, and it’ll probably even give you more of a chance of winning the quiz! Find one nearby and take your new coursemates or flatmates. Most pub quizzes offer a cash or tab prize, so it could even be a free night out if you try hard enough.
5. Find a gaming cafe/bar
A lot of cities now have board game and puzzle bars or cafes, which are the perfect places to enjoy yourself whether you’re straight-edge, teetotal or drinking! So take a couple of friends along to your local gaming cafe and enjoy their range of board games or video games alongside some cake, food or a lovely coffee. What’s better than some friendly competition with good food and great vibes? Nothing.
6. Find a new favourite restaurant
You’ve likely moved to a new city, and there’s a lot of exploring to do! So why not take a look on Google at all the new restaurants nearby, and each week or evening, take a trip out to one. Spend the money others will spend on jagerbombs on a lovely meal out and find your new favourite restaurant.
7. Go and watch a sports match
Universities have sports teams that compete, often against other universities. So if you’re a sports fan, take yourself along to a match! Whether you fancy a football game, American football, rugby, tennis or even swimming, there’s almost definitely something going on that you can watch – or maybe even join in with…
8. Visit the local museums
Many cities have museums that show the local history, so they’re a great place to go if you’re looking to learn a little more about where you’ve moved to. They’re also perfect for dates, so knowing your way around may benefit you in the future if you’re so inclined. Plus, they’re usually free and have great gift shops to explore.
9. Do a Bake Off night
Are you an avid baker? Do you want to give it a go anyway? Get your friends to all pick a baked good, and plan a night where you all do your best attempt at baking said item, either one after the other or together. Then you all get to judge who is the group’s Star Baker (and from then on, of course, they are obliged to bake you all cookies). It’s a fun and drink-free way to enjoy each other’s company and also lots of baked goods.
10. Do a Come Dine With Me week
Similar to the bake-off idea, why not organise a Come Dine With Me week with your flatmates. All allocate yourselves a day to make the dinner for the flat and rate each other out of 10 like the contestants on the show. You can create menus and dress codes as the show does, too, if you’d like! You can also decide on a ‘prize’ – it probably won’t be £1000 like the show, but it could be a week off of bin duty or shower priority for the week.
11. Come up with or try some new mocktails
You could combine this with the Come Dine With Me idea and come up with some mocktails. That way, when your flatmates or friends have a night in, you can join in with some fruity favourites! Some of our best suggestions are:
Or just come up with your own! Mix some of your favourite fruit juices and soft drinks, or find some cocktail recipes and take out the alcohol. For example, you could make a Sunrise sans-Tequila, which would consist of cranberry juice, orange juice and grenadine syrup, or peach juice and cranberry juice for non-alcoholic sex on the beach.
12. Try some new hobbies
University is the time to find yourself, and that could involve finding some new hobbies. There’s no better time for it, really, as you’re not likely to have this much spare time forever! Anything you’ve wanted to try, give it a go. Rollerskating? Find some cheapies on eBay and pop along to a rollerskating derby or disco! Crochet? Buy some cheap yarn and give it a go. You could even join societies for the hobbies you want to try, and you might meet other newbies and get to go on your journey together.
13. Go to a silent disco
A silent disco sounds weird, but they can be really, really fun. Have an explore on Facebook or Google and see if you can find anything happening near you. You might even find university-ran silent disco events! Some cities even have walking silent discos, where you get to explore the city with a group of people all listening to some great music and dancing along. It’s weird, sure, but it’s a great laugh. And a great way to meet new people.
14. Find some gigs in your new city
One of the best things to do if you’re not a big drinker is try and go to some live music events at venues or pubs. You can take friends along, or a date, and even if they drink and you don’t, there’s enough going on that it isn’t important! Check out Facebook Events or download apps like DICE and Bandsintown to find gigs near you.
15. Host a games night
Our last suggestion is to host a games night. Get in some board games or card games and use your kitchen or dorm room to host a games night with some friends or flatmates! Get some snacks in, your favourite takeaway and maybe even some of the mocktails you made earlier in the week. The most important thing to do is enjoy yourself!
With all of these things, just make sure you remember that not drinking is 100% an option, no matter what other people might say. It doesn’t make you boring or weird, and you can still have the best freshers experience without it! Even if you don’t give these ideas a go, tag along to club events and just drink lemonade or juice – have a boogie and have some fun, and you’ll save a lot of money compared to your drinking friends!