Duke Student Says People Should 'Get Drunk and Walk Around' to Cope With Closed Bars

With many colleges and universities welcoming students back amid coronavirus lockdowns, there are many questions about what schools are doing to help keep students safe, while also trying to help young adults further their education. Academia is, of course, the purpose of college, but social distancing and safety regulations have hurt many of the very important social aspects of college life. Well, limited access to campus bars isn't getting one Duke University student down; he recently penned an op-ed advising people to "get drunk and walk around" to make up for the fact that bars have been shuttered.

In a column titled "Get Drunk and Walk Around," for Duke's student-run media organization The Chronicle, senior Jordan Diamond argues that what people are really missing out on isn't the bar scene, but the time it takes to get to and from the bar.

In the column, Diamond writes that more often than not, he doesn't look back fondly on the nights he spent with friends in packed bars, but rather "the times you ran to [local restaurant] Heavenly Buffaloes 10 minutes before closing, the beer in your veins shielding your senses from autumn's oppressive wind chill." He also reminisces about "your team of friends carrying a fallen comrade home, stopping to hold their hair as they vomit."

In a Facebook message, Diamond told Newsweek that he realized that taking walks helped make time with his friends feel more eventful. "I decided that walking around was an essential part of the drunk experience as my friends would sit around and play drinking games over the summer, and something was missing. When we'd occasionally stumble out to pick up food, it felt like we'd actually accomplished something with our nights. We didn't need any bars, just dizzy walking," he wrote.

Harboring a particular fondness for walking around in a drunken state sure sounds like something from a Hold Steady song, but Diamond took a philosophical approach when elaborating upon the appeal of drunken strolls. "As I see it, getting drunk and walking around is a reminder that life, much like a weekend night on the town, is about the journey, not the destination," he wrote.

Before wrapping up the column with the recipe to his favorite drink (a cosmopolitan), the student did digress to say that walking around and drinking wasn't a solution to all problems. (He pointed out that isolating loneliness, racial inequality and lost jobs due to the pandemic are major issues that can't be fixed with a drunken night out.) Instead, he offered it as a temporary salve to all the terrible things going on. "God, everything is terrible now. But getting drunk and walking around is pretty fun," he wrote.

When asked if he had given the drunk walk a try before his column, Diamond said that he had, and while it wasn't exactly a positive experience, it was definitely a memorable one. "I did experiment getting drunk and walking for this article by asking three close friends to share 24 beers with me. When we headed out, we actually ran into Durham police arresting a pregnant woman (which we stopped to film and witness, and ensure her safety). Two of those friends ended up getting separated from us with both of their phones dead and we spent half an hour finding them. I'd say these parts of the night were actually pretty upsetting due to factors out of our control (hence why I chose not to write about this night), but I will certainly remember the night — it was clearly eventful," he wrote in a message.

In his bio at the end of the piece, Diamond did ask people that are looking to make their own memories by drinking and walking around to exercise caution. He asked not to disturb members of the community and to wear a mask if they do go out.

Arizona State University students play cards and drink beer at the Manzanita Residence Hall Dormitory. A column by a Duke student encouraged people to "get drunk and walk around" as a solution to quarantine blues, saying that the trips between bars are usually more memorable than nights in bars themselves. mark peterson/Corbis/Getty