Food & Drink

12 Ways Drinking Changes After You Graduate College

A lot changes after you graduate from college: You discover the wonders (and the annoyances) of living off campus. You adapt to a brand new schedule, which, if you managed to score a job, involves waking up before 9 a.m. for the first time in four years. You learn to feed yourself without the aid of a dining hall. But nothing changes more than your drinking habits. Here, the 12 major ways drinking changes after college graduation.

Wednesday Is No Longer a Party Night

“Hump Day” is no longer an excuse to party. You’re a responsible grown-up now, with responsible grown-up things to do. Or, at least, your friends are responsible grown-ups, so good luck finding a Wednesday-night drinking buddy. Thursday night, on the other hand—well, that’s practically Friday.

You Buy Your Own Alcohol

Maybe you stocked up on a bottle or two for pre-gaming purposes in college, but for the most part, you probably drank for free (or darn close to it), accepting any and all red Solo cups passed your way. Sorry to break it to you, but the real world doesn’t just hand you a beer without expecting anything in return. So now, you’re faced with spending your own hard-earned cash on booze, which means you’re about to get real familiar with our good friend, Two-Buck Chuck.

You Don’t Do Shots Every Weekend

While shots were an essential part of every Friday night in college, they are not as common in the real world. Not only do shots not suit every social situation, but they’re stupid expensive. You can buy three bottles of White Zin for the same price as one shot of tequila, which is precisely what you’ll do.  

Drinking Games Are No Longer a Party Staple

No one’s saying the occasional game of beer pong doesn’t crop up at a post-grad house party, but don’t expect to see flip cup set up at every single event. Now that you’ve graduated, you’ll start to understand the appeal of having an actual conversation with someone—one that wasn’t prompted by a round of “never have I ever.”

You Have a Drink With Dinner

In college, dinner was just preparation for a night of drinking, a padding of starches and proteins consumed in a dining hall and washed down with big gulps of Crystal Light. But now, as a grown-up, you’ve found out just how well a sensible glass of Pinot Noir or craft IPA complements a bowlful of Kraft mac ‘n cheese. (Remember, you’re a college grad, not a billionaire.)

You Discover the Joys of Boozy Brunch

While graduation somewhat curtailed many of your drinking habits, here’s one way post-graduation life gets boozier: brunch, every grown-up’s excuse to day drink an entire Sunday away. Are you a Bloody Mary person or Mimosa person? You’ll soon find out, and it will become an essential part of your identity.

You Don’t Feel Bad Having a Drink by Yourself at Home

In college, drinking alone signaled problems. But as a full-fledged graduate, you’ve earned the right to crack open a bottle when you get home from work and sip it solo without any judging looks.

You Find Out How Quickly That Solo Drink Can Spiral Into a Full Solo Six-Pack

Of course, just because you can have a drink alone, doesn’t mean you know how to do it right quite yet. We’ve all been there: One beer turns into two, turns into five, turns into a lot of strange, drunken Amazon purchases. Who knew you needed a ceramic bunny in your life, let alone an entire pet store’s worth? You, after eight solo beers, that’s who.

You Find Out You Actually Like Gin & Tonics

In college, a Gin & Tonic tasted more like a Grain Alcohol & Warm, Flat Sprite. But when made correctly (read: not by a frat bro who’s already consumed an entire recycling bin of Jungle Juice), it’s a refreshing, balanced, delicious cocktail. And now, having sipped one in a decent bar, you are well aware of that fact.

You Love Dinner Parties Now

Just hearing the words “dinner party” used to bore you to tears. But now you know just how great they are: You get dinner, friends you actually want to hang out with, and booze (so much booze) all in one place. One day, you’ll stick to a couple of glasses of wine and a nightcap at these semi-formal occasions. But for now, you’re going to drink that entire bottle of Cabernet you brought, along with the welcome cocktails made by the host, and a full glass of scotch after dinner. Because you’re a grown-up, and this is what grown-ups do (sort of).

You Actually Own Glassware

OK, maybe your glasses are made out of plastic, but they’re still a major upgrade from the disposable cups you were sipping from in college. Maybe when you stop falling asleep with a glass of red wine in your hand on the couch, you’ll make the jump to actual, breakable glass. That’s still a few years off, though.

You Drink Cold Drinks

Now that you have a full-sized fridge (or, at least, you lay claim to part of one), you can finally chill your alcohol. Budweiser tastes so much better cold—it’s almost worth sipping instead of chugging … almost.