“Going out” to bars is a waste of time

Nathan Polk | @snpolk2, Staff Columnist

“Are you going out this weekend?”

Every University of Alabama student has heard this phrase innumerable times. On any given night between Thursday and Saturday, the fraternities on University Boulevard and the bars downtown crawl with students looking for a good time. The social environment of this campus is driven by a deep affinity for excessive alcohol consumption, loud music and confined spaces.    

“Going out” violates the basic tenets of social function. There is no social merit to being in an uncontrolled situation and making irresponsible decisions that endanger the individual and the ones around them. “Going out” means partakers waste time with people they don’t know, spend money they don’t have and experience events they don’t remember. On this basis, I contend there are far more profitable and stimulating ways to pass a Friday night than at the bar or a party.

Quality relationships require investment, time and effort. A chaotic environment where one is surrounded by strangers does not allow for these to present themselves. Rather, interactions in such environments are marked by severe brevity and colored by sexual expectations. Most graduates point to the relationships they have developed over their academic careers as their most treasured assets. These types of deep bonds are impossible to develop exclusively through bar or party experiences.

Further, the lack of quality in social interaction leads to concerns about safety. The numbing of one’s faculties decreases good decision-making. Reports, like the 2019 story detailing how police found a drunkenly unconscious female UA student lying in the back of a fake Uber driver’s vehicle, consistently prove the inadvisable nature of “going out.” Time expended with hosts of unknown people is unproductive and unsafe. 

Student budgets are tight; buying alcohol does not help. At an extremely conservative average expenditure of $150 a month, or three $10 drinks a week and two cases of beer or bottles of wine, students would spend $1,350 on alcohol over a school year. For many students, $150 a month equals a utility payment! The carousing experience is incredibly brief. Therefore, the value of spending this much money compared to its price is extremely low. Spending money on fleeting experiences is unwise.

 Memories are not good if questions must be asked to explain what happened. Memories are not good if headaches, vomiting and regrettable dates are the byproducts. Memories are not good if they are characterized by insincere, forgettable engagements with others. Good memories require situational cognizance that creates valuable connections based on humor, compassion, thrill or intrigue. This cognizance is not attainable in an alcoholic fog or a haze of anarchic distraction. The fun one expects to have when inebriated or swept up in sensuous disorder is never realized when there is limited consciousness to work with. Memories made in an altered consciousness are undesirable and undependable. 

When students devote an abundance of time to “going out,” they surround themselves with people they don’t know, spend money they don’t have and experience events they don’t remember. This reality indicates a sad state of affairs on college campuses. Students would rather degrade themselves by committing their time to vaporous pleasures rather than pursuing invigorating, sober experiences with people who mean something to them. Students, take advantage of the litany of other entertainment options available to students rather than subjecting yourselves to an ensnaring party and bar landscape.