Freshers’ week is an incredibly exciting time – you’ve just moved into your new halls, bonded with your new flatmates, and more than likely you’re about to head out the door for the first of many nights out.
However, whilst freshers’ week is a rite of passage when going to uni for the first time, it’s also one of the riskiest times as you get used to a new city or campus. With this in mind, we’ve put together our top tips for staying safe during freshers’ week.
1. Eat plenty, and know your limits
It’s common knowledge that it’s important to eat plenty before a night out – not only will it line your stomach so you don’t over-do it on the alcohol front, but sometimes it can even rid the effects of the next-morning hangover!
Carbs will become your best friend during freshers’ week – a slice of bread or a nice bowl of pasta will prepare you for the night ahead.
But even the most seasoned of drinkers sometimes become carried away when enjoying a night out. It’s important to know your alcohol limits, and understand that your limits may change daily dependant on how much you’ve eaten, the length of time you’ve been drinking, and any physical activity you may have partaken in that day.
A pint of water between each drink is usually a good idea, as it not only slows your drinking, but it will keep you (more) hydrated than if you’re purely drinking alcohol.
2. Keep an eye on your drinks
Whilst bars and clubs are very cautious when it comes to the risk of your drinks being spiked, it’s sensible to keep an eye on your drinks during a night out – if only to prevent those pesky ‘minesweepers’ from stealing your drinks.
Placing a coaster or a bottle stopper on top of your drink is an easy way to prevent a ‘drive-by’ spiking. Alternatively, you can now buy drug testing strips online for as little as £5 – so if you suspect that your drinks been spiked, test it.
3. Know how you’re getting home
Have a look into what transport is available in your new city. Some universities offer ‘safety buses,’ a volunteer run service that will scoop you up and take you home, usually at a lower cost of £1. This is a great service if you’re out of money, you don’t really know where you are, and could use a friendly face. However, this shouldn’t be used as a cheap taxi service – this should only be used when you’re in real need of assistance.
Alternatively, save some taxi numbers to your phone, or find a bus timetable so you can plan your route home before you even set foot out the door. And don’t forget to make a note of your new address before you head on your night out, it’ll make your life a lot easier later on.
4. Travel as a pack
Whilst you’re acclimatising to your new surroundings, it’s a good idea to travel as a group. Not only is it a useful bonding exercise with your new flatmates, but you can all look out for each other as you explore new areas.
An extra pair of eyes on your drink, a few extra people to remember the route home, as well as a cheaper taxi fare at the end of the night are just a few of the many reasons to travel in packs.
5. Make sure your phone is fully charged
There’s no doubt you’ll be taking your phone with you on a night out, but have you checked that it’s on full battery, and that you have some credit in case you need to call a taxi?
If you’re taking lots of pictures and texting your new friends to find out which club they’re in, your battery might drain pretty quickly - so make sure it’s at 100% before heading out.
Not only this, but it’s worth making sure you have suitable student insurance in place for if the unexpected does happen and you accidentally lose or damage your phone. Gadget insurance protects you against these losses, and ensures that you’re never without your phone for too long.