Student Shout is a weekly column by university and college students. Here Alex Saunders gives his view on student boozing...
Students have a reputation for being heavy drinkers at university. The view is they don’t go to learn and improve their chances of getting a good job – but to party hard.
This idea is encouraged during the annual Freshers’ week, where nights are planned for students to go out, socialise and enjoy themselves. At the start of each university year, photos appear in national newspapers shaming young people for being drunk, when most of the time they’re simply enjoying themselves or caring for a new friend.
Students are villainised as a nuisance, who interrupt September by filling the streets with noise, mess and general irritating behaviour.
But people conveniently forget the students they know, or once were, who have ended up in similar situations. Such coverage suggests students will spend their year drinking and being lazy before heading home in June. But this kind of attitude towards students completely disregards those helping the local area by buying from shops or the many getting jobs to support their studies.
Freshers’ week, organised to allow students to enjoy themselves and meet people before beginning lectures, is often used to brand students as a group of inconsiderate yobs, ignoring the many students who choose not to partake in the university drinking culture.
I have never roamed the streets at an unthinkable hour screaming, vandalising or vomiting. Nor have the majority of students I have met.
Yet it is assumed by many that all students do carry out this disrespectful behaviour and enjoy acting this way.
Perhaps people should recall their own younger days. And they should realise students bring so much more to the community than drunken havoc.
Alex Saunders is a journalism student at the University of Portsmouth.