There's so much going on in the early days at university that it's easy to let your guard down. You shouldn't be unduly paranoid, of course, but there are some simple tips to bear in mind to ensure you stay safe.
A night out can often mean indulging in the odd drink or two. Our alcohol guide page has some handy advice if alcohol is a new experience for you, as well as some tips on why you shouldn't feel pressured to drink if you don't want to. Elsewhere on the web, Drinkaware provides plenty of good advice.
- Try to eat something before you go out. The effects of alcohol will not hit you quite so hard, and your body will be reinforced with vitamins and minerals.
- Drink water regularly to rehydrate yourself. Failing that, have a number of soft drinks. Don't feel the need to have alcohol every time.
- Stay in a group. During freshers' week try to remain as much as possible with the official events. Try to keep with friends and people you can trust.
- Don't accept drinks from strangers and keep an eye on yours (and that goes for guys as well). If you do accidentally leave your drink alone, go and buy a fresh one.
- Always walk home in a crowd, or catch a taxi home. Many cities will have late-night buses, especially at the weekend, and some universities put on special buses during freshers' week. If you recognise students in a taxi rank, don't be shy in asking if they want to share a taxi back to halls with you.
- Have your keys ready before you reach your door, in order to make sure you can let yourself straight into your building. Make sure the door locks behind you.
The emergency number for getting through to the emergency services. You can also use 112 as this is the EU standard emergency number. Dialling 911 will also put you through to the emergency services.
- Mountain Rescue
- Cave Rescue
- Bomb Disposal
There are cases where the first people you should contact are not the emergency services. The most common incident is something involving the railways where you should contact the railways directly through the phone number provided on a sign before contacting the emergency services.
For non-emergency calls you should contact the relevant service directly.
NHS Direct is the ideal place for non-emergency calls. Many towns and cities also have a drop-in centre for anyone. Your university will also have a student advice centre and possibly its own doctors/student nurse.
Be aware of what is going on in your flat. Keep your own bedroom door locked, even when just nipping out for a few minutes, and especially if your mates are going to be having a party. If you live in a ground floor room, always lock your bedroom window, even when you are somewhere else in the building. It is really easy for someone to reach in and steal something without you knowing.
Look into Insurance for your room and contents. It is usually very cheap and there will be people around to help you set it up during fresher's week. Your parent's insurance may cover this, so give them a ring in advance.
A cable lock can be very helpful for securing your laptop and preventing it being nicked. If insuring your room, you can normally add on insurance for taking your laptop out and about. This will cover you against theft and accidental damage.
To reduce the risk of losing your keys from your pocket, get a chain or clip of some kind so you can attach them to your trousers, belt, purse or handbag. You may be lucky enough to find bars giving branded key chains away during fresher's week - so snap them up. This prevents them from falling out, being dropped, or being accidentally left in your room. Another good piece of advice is to clip your mobile and wallet to yourself or handbag so they also do not fall out.