Believe it or not, school isn’t just about learning a bunch of facts, taking tests and then doing it over again. College teaches you more about who you are, what you want and who you want to become more than any other time in your life. And if you’re not drinking during this time, you’ll definitely go through some trials and wonder, “Is this worth it?” So if you’re in recovery during college or have just chosen to be sober, here’s what YOU get to learn.
College is a time of learning and growing. In fact, you’re paying thousands of dollars to take classes and live on campus, so if you’re not learning something… then changes should definitely be made.
I remember choosing to stop drinking and using drugs in college because I wanted every moment to be a learning experience. Every interaction, every failure, and every new experience could teach me something about myself and the world I live in. So I wanted to share what you can learn by staying sober throughout your time at a university.
How to build your own confidence.
You probably want a job after college, right? Of course! That’s a big reason why you’re going! Learning to build your own confidence will help you in every area of life, from getting a job and negotiating your salary to asking someone out on a date. Many students start using drugs and alcohol to socialize in college and they don’t learn how to rely on themselves for confidence. By staying sober you get to become a more confident person with every single experience you have.
How to meet people.
Meeting new people is not difficult, but most people are intimidated by it. We think that other people are out to judge us and that they won’t accept us. So instead of drowning your inhibitions in alcohol to become outgoing, you get to practice in real world applications. I remember challenging myself to meet at least one new person every single day. After a few weeks, I was a pro at it and guaranteed to have 365 new friends every year.
How to save a ton of money.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly something you learn… but it’s a great benefit of being sober! The average college students spend $75 each weekend on booze, so if you do the math, that’s more than $1,000 per semester! So maybe what you can really learn is how to budget the money you save to take an awesome vacation every year or pay off your student loans early.
How to loosen up/relax.
Life as a college student is stressful. Especially when you’re taking on new opportunities and working a job as well. Learning to cope with stress is very important and many students using drugs or alcohol to do it, creating an expectancy of alcohol every time we’re challenged. Being sober you get to learn other techniques to relieve stress that doesn’t take a negative physical toll on your mind and body.
Who your real friends are.
It’s easy to act like friends when someone does exactly what you want them to do… but what if they’re different? What if they don’t like the same things as you? All of a sudden being friends isn’t so convenient anymore. Being sober at a university really filters out the friends who don’t care about you and expose the one’s who like you for who you are.
How to give zero ****s.
I used to go to house parties and bars with my friends and not drink. People would see me dancing like crazy and going up to random people to talk, so they’d ask “How are you so comfortable everywhere? You’re not even drinking.” And the reason is that I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me. If you can adopt an attitude where you don’t need other people’s approval, (ironically) more people will approve of you. Always remember that you spend 24 hours a day with you, and no one else, so do what makes you happy… then you’ll have crazy confidence, be a ton of fun and have lots of friends.
How to take responsibility.
Ever do something stupid? Of course! At least when you’re sober you can own up to it, learn from it and improve for next time. While the rest of the world is making excuses and avoiding responsibility, you’ll be learning essential life lessons that will help you in the future. (Isn’t that why people go to college anyway, to have a better future?)
One of the most important things I learned in school was that every decision and action, no matter how big or small, will create habits that will make the most effect on my life. As Jeff Olson say’s in The Slight Edge, “A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which turns into positive results, which turns into a positive lifestyle. A positive life.”
I encourage you to continue making great decisions in college because they will springboard you to make great decisions for the rest of your life, bringing you closer to your goals and dreams.
So what about you? What else do you learn by staying sober in college?