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Finding My Niche: Navigating College Life as a Straight-Edge Student

Written by Bailee

Ah, college. The time in many young adults’ lives to move away from mom and dad and experience the ‘real world.’

Three years ago, I was presented with the greatest opportunity of my life – I was accepted to my first choice college. I was ecstatic; I was going to be my parent’s only child with a college education. I had never known anything outside of my hoebunk little town, and after busting my ass at Dairy Queen for the past four years, I was ready for the change.

Things were awesome – until I actually got to school. I was 300 miles away from home and completely out of my comfort zone. Not because I had gone from a town of 3,000 to a college of 30,000; not because I had left my friends and family behind; but because I was totally and completely surrounded by hundreds of absolutely WASTED college freshman on a nightly basis.

This would be great if I drank, but I didn’t – I don’t, I’m straight edge. My naivety had gotten the best of me. I had no idea that virtually every college student would participate in the party lifestyle. At home, all my friends were edge; I had never known anything else and it was a huge culture shock.

A Chance Encounter: Finding a Kindred Spirit

So here I was, straight-edge and completely alone. Who was I going to hang out with? My roommate was out getting sloshed every night, and I was left in my dorm room watching the Discovery Channel. If I had to lie in my bed and listen to the girls next door drunkenly belt out Celine Dion one more night, I was going to hurl myself out of my 17th-floor window.

I thought about clubs I could join – Campus Crusade for Christ? They don’t drink. I love my God, but organized religion isn’t for me. I might make some friends, but my heart wouldn’t be in it – so that was out. I felt like there wasn’t a single niche for girls like me.

One night my depression got the best of me, and I went to a party with my roommate. I drank Gatorade the whole night and sat alone on the porch. I just couldn’t force myself into that scene. Finally, a girl came to talk to me and I realized she wasn’t drunk. In fact, she was edge too. (She also worked at Dairy Queen too, what are the odds?).

Staying True to Your Beliefs in College

Now I’m a junior, and sober-party girl and I are best friends and roommates. Things are ok, but we are constantly hunting for other edge college kids. It sometimes feels like it’s us against the world. To this day, when I tell one of my college friends that I don’t drink, they look at me like I have the bubonic plague. I’ll admit that sometimes it makes me feel embarrassed of my lifestyle even though I am proud of it.

I would love to start a group on campus for people like me, but sadly, there just isn’t enough interest. So if I can’t reach out to these girls physically, I at least want college edge girls out there to know that it’s ok. You don’t have to go against your beliefs to fit into the college lifestyle (I know this is harder than it sounds, it’s a struggle).

When you look back on your life, you’ll see that it was worth it. Partying in college is nothing but detrimental. I’m proud of the fact that I have a poison-free body. I’m proud that I’m getting straight A’s (…ok ok, an occasional B too.) I’m proud of the fact that my Facebook isn’t plastered with pictures of me shitfaced with my skirt hiked up to my bellybutton. I’m proud of the fact that my gut is full of Qdoba, not beer.

College and edge don’t mix, it’s sad and true – but don’t let that discourage you. Stick to your guns. In the words of the great and wise ladies of Wilson Phillips “No one can change your life except for you, Don’t ever let anyone step all over you…Hold on for one more day”.

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3000 miles from home and the people that kept me strong…
written by caitlin, December 16, 2008
i lived in california and i am a freshman at a college in nj. 
my whole high school years were spent with all my srtaight edge brother and friends (all boys). 
I got to college and knew NO ONE! i thought that joining a sorority would help, my sister did it and now she has friends… well sisters, that she will have for life. So I joined a soroity and Ive started to see how frustrating it can be, not just to be in college full of “experimenting” young adults, but to watch other sorority girls get wasted and embarass themselves as well can be hard, thankfully my sisters see and respect me for my choices and some even stay sober and dance with me to keep me company. 

its still hard, youre right, edge and college dont mix, but i hope there can be a happy medium.


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