Princeton Students' Reasons for Not Drinking

While it may seem like all students drink, on any given night, many students choose not to drink. The following are the most common reasons for not drinking cited by Princeton undergraduates in surveys and anecdotally:

  • Don’t need to drink to have a good time. Students have fun without drinking in a variety of ways. Alcohol shouldn't become the only signal for “it’s time to have fun.”
  • Not wanting alcohol to affect schoolwork. A night of hard drinking can have effects for 3-5 days later, which could influence your performance throughout the week. It can be particularly hard to get quality work done on Sunday after a weekend full of drinking.
  • Simply don't feel like it. Even if you drink regularly, it’s healthy to choose not to drink on occasion.
  • Athletic competitions. Many athletes choose not to drink close to competition, or may have mandatory dry seasons, because of the negative effects of alcohol on athletic performance.
  • Health concerns. Alcohol influences the body in many ways and some people may abstain from or limit their drinking to avoid those effects.
  • Religious preferences. People may abstain from drinking because of their religious beliefs.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter drug interactions. Certain medications-- for example, Tylenol, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications -- should not be taken with alcohol.
  • Family history of substance use concerns. 

There are other great reasons to avoid alcohol or other substances.  When you are not under the influence, you are your most authentic self and you can see who you really connect with over shared interests and long conversations. These kinds of connections lead to the true friendships we are all looking for. If you are unsure about socializing without alcohol, here are some tips.