Staying Safe at University
By Jo Shelbourne on September 5th, 2017
You’re away from home for the first time with the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want – woohoo! The last thing you need is a nasty accident to ruin your fun and put a damper on your university experience (because who wants a student night out during Fresher’s Week that ends with a trip to A&E, a lost phone and a hangover to top it all off? Well, nobody really). Now, we aren’t suggesting you wrap yourself in bubble wrap and hide away for the entirety of your university course, but we do recommend you follow these 7 top tips to stay safe at university…
The first few days at your new university are going to be exciting and busy! It’s easy to get swept up in events and nights out across the city and struggle to find your way home, so store your student accommodation address and flat number in your phone straight away, as well as writing it down and stashing it in your wallet, in case you lose your phone. This will be a huge help after a busy day!
Google map the building, pub or area you’re heading out to – and set reminders for last trains/buses in your phone if you need them, so you don’t get stranded.
Store two local cab company numbers in your phone before you arrive at university, or download the Uber app – then you’re sorted no matter how late you stay out! And don’t get in an unlicensed cab – you have no way of tracing the car or the driver, so they’re essentially a complete stranger – no thanks!
Keep your personal details safe and don’t leave anything personal lying around in public. This goes for driving licenses, bank cards or statements, PIN numbers, any official university paperwork. You don’t want to risk this information falling into the wrong hands, plus think how proud your parents will be if you keep it all in a nice organised folder! (10 brownie points for you.)
If you do have a change of address – let your university, bank, and other organisations know before you move, so that they don’t send any documents or personal information to your old address after you’ve left.
Keep your expensive items secure and discreet when you’re out and about. Carry laptops and iPads inside another bag rather than just the case, and carry your mobile phone securely – not hanging out of your back pocket! You don’t want to lose it (or accidentally butt-dial your ex).
Keep wallets, bank cards and cash somewhere safe, like a zip-up pocket or the inside pocket of your jacket, and don’t carry large amounts of cash around unnecessarily. That’s the beauty of contactless technology!
If you’re going on a night out, try and stick to a group of 3 or more to make sure you don’t end up left alone – just in case one of you decides to go home or meet up with other friends.
Have fun, but make sure you let your group know if you’re going home or heading onto another party. Make sure everyone in your group else gets home safe too – don’t assume they’re ok if you haven’t seen them all night.
Eat some food before drinking – this will keep you going on the dancefloor as well as absorbing some of the alcohol so you don’t start to feel ill. Carbs are good for this. (Any excuse for a burger and chips or a lasagne!)
Moderate and alternate – there is no shame in having a soft drink or glass of water between rounds. This will keep you hydrated and lessen the chances of an awful hangover. (Plus it’s super good for keeping your skin glowing and fresh!)
Keep your drink in sight and be aware of who is around you. If you accept a drink from someone you’ve just met, make sure you are at the bar watching it being poured so you know exactly what you’re drinking. Keep an eye out for any signs of you or your friends’ drinks being spiked – if you feel sick, drowsy, or notice your drink tastes strange then tell your friends, the bar staff or security, and call an ambulance if the situation worsens.
Make your last drink of the night a pint of water – this will give your body a head start at recovering the next day. You’ll thank yourself in the morning!
There are several apps you can download to your mobile phone that provide another level of security, wherever you are. Once set up, they can quickly and silently connect to your friends, family and Facebook account to alert people if you’re in trouble, or let them know exactly where you are and that you need help.
Take a look in your app store at things like:
Circle of 6
Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do, it’s no big deal to say ‘no thanks’. Everyone wants to make a good impression when they arrive, but you’ll find the people that will become lifelong friends by engaging in activities you enjoy, not things you’ve been pressured into doing.
Remember – you are making memories that will last a lifetime. Look after yourself first, and you’ll really enjoy your university experience!