University is a time of exploration and discovery. You’re learning about a subject you (hopefully) love, and you’re learning a lot about how to live and work in the real world. You have the freedom to go out whenever you want and the energy and optimism to try out all the options available to you. And while most people will see you as a carefree young adult, some folks out there are eager to take advantage of you.
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Below we show you some easy ways to stay safe at university – without ruining your fun.
Eat food and drink water to keep the night going
You’ve heard this all before, so you already know that you should eat a nice, big meal before you go out and you should drink water (or at least a soda) between alcoholic beverages. As tempting as it might be to skip this tip, there are plenty of good reasons to do this. First off, it will stop you from getting so sloppy drunk that you find yourself in unsavoury situations.
Second, but perhaps more importantly, it will enable you to stay out longer. Think of it this way: food is energy, and energy keeps your body going at 5am. And you’re more likely to get served if you’re not swaying, slurring your words and chucking up all over the place.
Know what you’re dealing with, so you can let go
Nothing kills the mood quite like feeling uptight, right? But if you feel unsafe, you simply can’t relax. That’s just part of our primary instincts. So if you really want to let go, do it in safe surroundings. Know who you are with, and try not to get separated from your friends. Be aware of what’s going on around you, so you can help someone if they need it or get out of a bad situation yourself. Stay in well-lit, well-populated areas as you move from pub to pub or on your way home.
Keep your surroundings safe, so that when you start belting out that song, you’re just a wazzock and not a target.
Get home quickly and safely
Getting home quickly and safely is so easy because so many of the safest things to do are also the quickest. First, make sure your phone is topped up – both with credit and with battery. Then save a few minicab or taxi numbers, just in case you feel the need to grab one and there’s none around to simply jump in. Finally, know the best public transport routes home, ones that go through well-populated areas that you feel safe in. Have your keys in your hand as you approach your door, so you don’t have to waste time fumbling around, and then make sure the door is closed securely behind you once you’re in.
Now it’s time to kick off your shoes and start enjoying what you wanted to get home quickly for.
Safety begins at home
Like charity, safety begins at home. And no matter how broke a student you are, you’ll still have some things you’ll want to protect, especially when you’ve gone out for the night. So keep your doors and windows (in particular, ground floor windows) locked. If you can lock your bedroom door, you might consider doing that, too, to keep unscrupulous hallmates from wandering in and ‘borrowing’ your laptop. Keep all your valuables out of sight of windows to keep passers-by from knowing just how much kit you’ve got. Get contents insurance and create an itemised list of all your valuables, complete with photographs, so that you can claim money back if anything gets damaged or stolen.
After all, you won’t want to miss out on the latest hit TV show, just because you were too lazy to snap some pics.
The most invaluable tips
There are loads of things we could tell you about how to keep yourself safe, but these are the things you really need to keep in mind to stay safe and have fun.
Know who to contact. If the worst does happen to you, knowing who to contact is key. Dial 999 for emergencies that require ambulances, fire fighters or the police. For smaller issues, contact campus security. If you contact the right help, right away, you can often find yourself in a better situation overall. And if not, at least you’ll be doing something, which can make you feel loads better.
Most importantly, trust your instincts. If someone seems sketchy or if a place gives you the creeps, then don’t stick around. You won’t always know when you’re in a bad situation, but if you feel uncomfortable for any reason, it’s better to leave than find out why you got that feeling in the first place.
Finally, remember that, as scary as the world can be, there are far more good, helpful people out there than evildoers. Don’t cut yourself off from this great new experience, just because it can be risky. If you take the steps we talked about above, you’ll be able to enjoy everything the world has to offer you as a new adult, without getting too seriously hurt.