The cycle begins again – like every year, the tabloids have been full of stories in the last few weeks, covering tales of drunken Freshers’ fouling the streets and generally embarrassing themselves.

Articles like these clearly disapprove of the behaviour of Freshers’. They infer a sense that drunken A&E visits are the norm, and that all young students are drinking recklessly and dangerously.

As students, we know this is not the case. Fortunately, most people don’t drink enough during fresher’s to require hospitalisation. Even if we did, I doubt the disdain of tabloid journalists and their readers would go very far in aiding the problem.

“The behaviour of newly legal drinkers is a result of the binge drinking culture in Britain that spans generations”

Because, in fact, the heavy drinking is not a fresher’s week phenomenon, it’s a year round event. Arguably, the behaviour of newly legal drinkers is a result of the binge drinking culture in Britain that spans generations. Articles that cover Freshers’ week antics with no follow up and offering no insight into the behaviours of students are, quite frankly, a waste of time to read. All they add to the situation is a removed sense of self-righteousness, as if those who read and write the articles have never gone out, and never been young. If they aren’t going to offer new insight – what’s the point?

“It seems that newspapers pursue the student population because we are an easy target”

While there are probably cases of drunken students causing disruption in and around Nottingham, articles like those I’ve mentioned often create an image of entire universities drinking and partying, as if their degree depended on it. While there are some pretty huge (and fun) events going on throughout the year, these remain optional. A group of young people choosing – or not choosing – to drink and go out is hardly newsworthy, as countless people in Britain go out for drinks every day. It seems that newspapers pursue the student population because we are an easy target. We’re a group whose habits are difficult to explain as journalists fail to acknowledge the decades of party culture in the UK, which normalises our behaviour.

I would argue the serious and problematic drinking habits of a minority of students are down to lack of health awareness and personal circumstances. It’s entirely incorrect for tabloids to demonise our entire demographic based on a few club nights, and the omission of drinking habits across the country.

Jo Ralphs

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