Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

The Month of Abstinence

October has become the month of abstinence, but why?

If we think about the time of year; the nights are drawing in and the season is significantly colder so motivational levels are at a record low. But as students returning back to University, October can be a period of extravagance as the parties begin, freshers flu strikes and hedonistic excess begins. At this point of the year, the thoughts about that ‘toned summer body’ are a thing of the past months; so the guilt a student may have felt through binging or smoking disappears. This is why October has become the most significant month for us to avoid these bad habits.

But why should we stop? As well as improving our health and raising money for Macmilllan Cancer Trust there are other personal benefits we should think about.

FOOD: The Winter months are here, whilst smoking increases your metabolism, the unaccounted calories found in alcohol is enough to shock us all. A shot of vodka contains 97 calories – now think how many of those you may consume on a standard night out. However, with extra money in your pocket and room for more calories why not indulge?

EXERCISE: Release those endorphins. Instead of considering what you have lost through the pleasure of drinking or smoking, think about what you can gain. Focusing your mind on sport will improve your mentality as you are giving up whilst providing another ambition to work towards. The money you save on these ‘hobbies’ will pay for a gym membership in no time!

KEEP YOURSELF OCCUPIED: What so many students fail to realise is that you can have fun without being intoxicated.  Being surrounded by your friends in a fun environment first of all allows you to remember the evening, avoid embarrassing yourself on a regular basis whilst saving yourself money and promoting such a worthy cause. Besides not all going out needs to be centred around a party-atmosphere as taking a walk, talking over a coffee, indulge in shopping, distract yourself with things you always wanted to get round to like gigs, the theatre, the cinema. It is just another way of avoiding that temptation.

NO HANGOVERS: Yes, an obvious one maybe but being more alert for lectures, being able to effectively organise your life rather than wallowing in self-pity will give you a more positive outlook

SAVE MONEY: Turn up that heating, simply because you can. Winter is a student’s worst nightmare I don’t think any of us can claim to be a proper student until we endure this season.


Research has shown that if you stop smoking for 28 days and you’re five time more likely to stop for good.

We all know the consequences but we should still be shocked that smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and 1 in 2 long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease.

This national campaign will not only make a difference for your own body and mentality but improve worldwide awareness for an illness which affects so many of us in our lives.