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    Transitioning to University: A Sober Experience

    Ireland, James (2019) Transitioning to University: A Sober Experience. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)


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    This study was designed to investigate the experiences of non-drinking, first year undergraduate students during their transition to university life. To achieve this, six semi-structured interviews were conducted. Upon transcription the interviews, each was analysed using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). From the analysis, four themes were identified: ‘Experiencing pressure to drink’, ‘making excuses not to drink’, ‘sports societal exclusion’ and ‘a gradually improving experience: ‘it gets easier with time’’. The analysis revealed an overall difficult experience for each non-drinking participant, aligning with and in some cases building upon the previous literature, suggesting the importance of alcohol amongst the student population, especially during the initial transitional period. Throughout each interview and imbedded in each theme was an overarching presence of social identity, defining for each participant both their own and their peers places as first year university students. As this study and others like it are aiding in illuminating the potential struggles of non-drinking, first year students during the transition to University, results could help in tailoring university support to the students in need.

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