The student drink problem

Thursday is seemingly to Groningen what the full moon is to a werewolf. Borderline alcoholism has become an accepted, and even cherished part of student life. Surprisingly, barely anyone has stopped to ask, ‘Why?’

There are very few things in this city that compare to the weekly bouts of hysteria that envelop the Binnenstad on Thursday evenings. Your average engineering student suddenly can’t seem to steer his bike down the street in a straight line any more, while the city’s social and environmental activists find themselves stumbling through mounds of discarded plastic cups without giving it a second thought.

When exactly did ‘student culture’ become a synonym of ‘stappen’? And where does the unavoidable peer pressure to head out for ‘a night on the town’ come from? There are so many unanswered questions.

Before you dismiss me as some aged and out-of-touch moraliser (I am in my lustrum year as a student after all), I have to confess that I’ve been there. I can certainly appreciate a pint or two (and on many occasions in the past, it’s been far more than that) especially after a tough exam season. The only trouble is that all I feel looking back, is regret.

It’s common knowledge that first-years from more ‘restrictive’ homes are the first to go off the rails

My fear is that I’m not the only one.  It’s common knowledge that first-years from more ‘restrictive’ homes are the first to go off the rails the minute they get here. Add to that the horror stories of being drugged on a night out, and you have an incredibly volatile and ugly mix.

All that can be said is that it’s a pity. It’s a pity that we students feel like engaging in potentially self-destructive behaviour is the way to let off steam. It’s an even greater pity that younger-years, on whom binge drinking will has a far greater long-term biological impact, are the ones most caught up in it.

Truth is, none of the truly amazing events in my time here took place in a ‘kroeg’. It was little more than some fleeting fun, but which ended up consuming countless hours that I’ll never get back. I don’t know if I’d have listened at the time, but it wouldn’t have hurt to have been warned.

We might be at the start of exam season, but it might just be worthwhile to use those procrastination spirals to think up alternative ways to celebrate with all that booze-money for when we’re done. Succes with the exams, and (a moderate) ‘cheers’ for thereafter!


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