Sometimes, it feels like you’re only worthwhile if you go out a lot. Sometimes, it feels like you’re wasting your evening if you choose to stay in. Sometimes, it feels like you’re missing out on GREAT EVENTS and NEW FRIENDS and THE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE if you don’t accept every Facebook invitation.
If you’ve ever felt any of the above things, then this is the article for you.
Going out can take its toll. How much more do you learn in that dreaded 9 am tutorial if you’ve had nine hours of sleep, rather than four? How much better does your whole body feel if you haven’t been dancing into the wee hours? What about your finances? Even if you pre-drink for every event, that still costs money. Is your bank account really that bottomless?
Let me describe a concept to you: Pre-drinks with friends, mixing alcohols like nobody’s business; walking through the cold night in not enough clothing towards an overcrowded, overloud venue; dancing for hours, taking occasional breaks to drink some water, or perhaps buy Pablos if you’re drunk enough; maybe dropping by a few different places as the night progresses; ending with Dervish or Empire; falling into your bed, exhausted, fully intending to sleep through your morning lectures / breakfast / the day. Now, imagine doing this a few times a week.
Sound familiar? That’s what I thought. Don’t these nights blur into one after a while?
Let me describe another concept to you: Firstly, saying “no” when people invite you out (if they do); then, you do whatever the hell you want, all evening / night. Perhaps you read for enjoyment; perhaps you binge-watch a show you love; perhaps you talk to other friends who are staying in; perhaps you go for a sea walk; perhaps you educate yourself on the politics of a country you’ve never heard of before today.
Picture: the cosiness of your bed, your fairy lights, cuddling with your current romantic interest, and watching a cutesy movie. Tell yourself you’re not going to do any work this evening, and simply enjoy your own company. Shave your legs. Paint your nails. Organise your desk. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, do it. Do it while playing good music, wearing sweatpants – the possibilities are endless. Give yourself a chance to take time for yourself. You might find that you actually like your company more than you thought you did.
One of the most important things in this world is being your own best friend. Other people come and go, but you’re the only one who is there for you, for every little moment. Just as you would go out with your best friends, stay in with yourself.
I’m not saying that nights out are bad, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve definitely enjoyed some of the St Andrews “nightlife” myself. But I think it’s all too easy to get sucked into the narrative that the only way to have fun here is to go out, drink a lot of alcohol, and dance. It’s too easy to feel like a loser, to feel like you’re missing out, to feel like you don’t want to have any fun, just by choosing to stay in.
But that’s not true. You choose to stay in, sometimes, because you know that’s what you want or need to do. If that’s the choice you make, power to you. Because you know what kind of night is right for you.