Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
Anyone who knows me knows I am one for nights out. I’m at every social, I beg people to go out with me on a Friday because Wednesdays are just never quite enough- sometimes I think I joined lacrosse just so I had more people to coerce into doing so. In my first year, my lack of experience with the club scene drove me on, pursuing those bottles of peach schnapps in Aldi, hunting them down on the shelves like a coyote to a wild snake, stocking up, dedicating a shelf in my own room to house this collection which stared at me when I would sit and type an essay mentally placing an together for that coming Friday night.
But I don’t just go out when I go out; oh no, I go OUT. If I am on the Jester’s floor on Monday, Tariq will be seeing me at 2am for a lamb tikka and a garlic naan pretty soon enough. If I am at Switch on a Friday, the subway staff will be seeing me at 3am for my tuna sub. And, if I am at Oceana, the McDonalds’ bouncers are at the ready for my stealing arse to waltz in and take other people’s (extra-cheesy) orders- because that is just the sort of thing I think my (dairy-intolerant) self can get away with.
I’m up till 6am regardless of whether I said I was going for a ‘quiet one’ or a ‘mad one’. I impose on other people’s afters, (I quite literally have jumped over fences to get to them), and I am hopelessly determined to never let the night die. On my birthday house party, I said goodnight to all of my housemates, who tucked themselves into their duvets blissfully unaware that I had decided the night was too young to die, and ran, yes ran, (in a full blown black silk floor length dress and hoodie thrown on over the top) to McDonalds, purely to go on an adventure into the big, wide, and unknown world of Southampton at 4am.
Not only have I have jumped into random people’s taxi’s who whispered the word ‘afters’- sorry Catherine – but I have argued with the bouncers to let me stay in their club for longer and, when failed, I have carried on drinking on my own in my bed. Sometimes I leave my sick in my toilet, make-up on my face, hair in its perfectly greased-back ponytail that took me two hours to construct, purely to preserve the memories for as long as I can possibly manage. Gross, but in my mind entirely justified.
But of course, it is not. It never was and never is justified to leave sick in your toilet for longer than an hour. The night can’t last forever, and even in the very back of my mind even I know that. In the same way, the euphoria of dancing to Teenage Dirtbag and Come on Eileen can never be perpetual. A night out exists in this odd space that isn’t real and never can be.
During those times that I spent putting together an outfit, I never thought of the people I was going with. And although I am still shamelessly addicted to nights out, looking back, I would much rather have been addicted to building real friendships. It is to this that I will also add a note about looking after yourself. If you are slightly unstable before the night out, you will wake up similarly unstable, sometimes arguably worse if alcohol was consumed. And, if you were lying on your bed questioning what to do with your life and decide to not think about it anymore and go to Oceana, you will wake up in the morning still not knowing what to do with your life, except now with a hangover and no self-restraint to stop eating the chocolate cake you bought three days ago- but even more so alone.
So, next time you are heading out to Switch, Jesters, or even Oceana, think about, perhaps, just not. Ask yourself what you actually need in that moment in time, and if it is company, focus on doing other things and building better and more healthy relationships both with these people and with yourself, so that they aren’t just the people you sort of know, or friends that just exist on nights out, but your real friends.
I’m not saying don’t go out, obviously; I’m a night-out junky through and through and that would just be entirely hypocritical. But, what I am saying, is that as a student in her third year the most important and only real thing that exists on nights out are the people that you go on them with. Re-evaluating who these people are to you is integral, because a night out has its advantages, of course, but unfortunately it comes also with its painful disadvantages in terms of the illusions of false friendships and the three-day long hangovers.
Of course, staying up till 6am is fun, granted, and I have a cracking load of stories to take away from doing just that, but it certainly is a wonderful world that I have uncovered in these last few months of university putting myself first and discovering the people who are willing to live in this reality with me.
At the end of the day, if you wake up feeling the same as you did the night before, you may as well decide if the people you wake up to are worth the hangover.