University: sitting around with forced-upon-you flatmates, searching for that mutual subject that quickly and solidly cements your three year contractual friendship. I, for one, found that the drawn out silences and forced smiles only really evaporated once the evening had begun and the drinks were poured.
The connotations linked to Freshers’ Week of drinking games, alcohol poisoning and “the most fun you will ever have” all begin and end in the same glass. Therefore how would you abolish the awkwardness and quickly forge those loving friendships if, say, alcohol played no role?
This year, STYCs were made to sign contracts negating responsibility for any inebriated fresher. Encouraging drinking games and “downing pints” was strictly forbidden to avoid finger-pointing after an “epic” night turns into an “epic” fail. Talks of long-term effects of excess drinking such as liver failure and heart disease seemed to be absent in this week in the same way that cigarette packet warnings are irrelevant to the young.
“university also teaches you to take responsibility for your own actions”
And the short-term effects? The vomiting, the one-night stands, and the tattoos. STYC instructions were to avoid freshers getting too pissed, but failing that to make sure, when they inevitably were, that they had been under no pressure. Therefore these “second and third-year contacts” had no accountability for this short-term damage.
An example of this damage is hospitilisation. The amount of ambulances called to the University of York during the first week was worryingly high, mainly due to alcohol-induced injuries. Bad as this sounds, university also teaches you to take responsibility for your own actions. The STYC contract ensures that when freshers drink themselves into a hospital bed, they know that it is their mistake they will learn from.
Sex, drugs and the Willow are all part of Freshers’ Week and separating STYC responsibility is no bad thing. The necessary boozing allowed everyone taking part in Freshers’ Week to avoid too many uncomfortable moments. Until the morning after that is. Alcohol was the best ice-breaker and an essential part of starting university. Despite the scorn of health boffins, drinking games allow students to bond, especially when these games are initiated by freshers.