Health and Wellbeing, New Students

Drink safe

Student intern, Victoria, shares her rules to live by this Freshers’ Week.

So! The Freshers’ Week madness begins and alongside it students everywhere are thrashed by the media for being grossly irresponsible hedonists (my new favourite word). It means ‘obsessed with self-indulgence’, and I’m sure they wouldn’t call us that if they saw the number of times baked beans appears on the student menu.

However, in all seriousness, it’s important not to get too swept up in the Freshers Frenzy and to make sure you stay safe. From one student to another, here are my top tips.


Three Rules to Live by During Freshers’ Week

1. Live large, but be careful

Freshers’ Week is all about experiencing new things and meeting new people! However, don’t be too disheartened if it doesn’t turn out to be the all it’s hyped up to be. Remember that social media only tells only one (and usually the best) part of the story.

If you’re planning on clinking glasses with newfound friends, here are some top tips to stay safe and avoid the dreaded hangover (as well as the embarrassment that can come with getting too drunk):

  • Eat a square meal. Contrary to the popular phrase, eating is not cheating. Actually, making sure to eat a good meal before going out could mean the difference between a great night and good memories, and having to leave early because of being too drunk (or because the sweet call of a kebab became too much to resist),
  • Drink water (or a soft drink) between alcoholic drinks. This is the best way to pace yourself and avoid the pounding headache (caused by the dehydrating effects of alcohol) the next day! Drinking water when you arrive home is a good idea too.
  • Know your units/measures We often forget that certain drinks have a very high alcohol content. A single 25ml measure of spirits like vodka, gin, whisky etc are 1 unit. Beer, wine, cider and cocktails tend to have a much higher number of units in a single drink so beware of your drink choices once you’re out. For more information about units click here.
  • Avoid ‘preloading.’‘Pre-drinking’ is a sacred student ritual, but don’t fall prey to ‘preloading’ (drinking a lot in a short space of time.) Alcohol can take a long time to affect your body, so be extremely careful of drinking a lot in a short space of time, as it may hit you all at once. Drink at your own pace and be mindful of how you’re feeling.

2. Look after each other

Everyone is in the same boat during Freshers’ Week, so look out for one another and don’t let anyone wander off alone. If you’re heading out with flat mates it can be a good idea to:

  • Keep your residences card on you. Living in a new place can be confusing at the best of times! Keep your residences card on you and make a note of your address on your phone so that you know how to get back.
  • Be wary of peer pressure. Being in a situation where you’re surrounded by new faces may make you more likely to give into peer pressure. You certainly don’t have to ‘down it fresher’ just because someone tells you to. Be mindful of not only giving into peer pressure, but being involved in it.
  • Exchange numbers or make a whatsapp group. Once you’ve met all your flat mates, exchange numbers or make a whatsapp group so you can keep in contact when you go out.
  • Have a meeting point. If you’re off on a night out, it can get busy very quickly and it’s much harder to spot the faces of people you’ve not known for long! Decide on a meeting point in case you get lost!

Watch this video and remember to stay with your pack!

Cardiff University have a number of schemes in place to keep you safe, so make use of them if you need to. It’s what they’re there for!

The Safe Taxi Scheme

You can use the Cardiff University Safe Taxi Scheme to get back safelyIf you run out of money on a night out and need to get home, follow these steps:

  1. Phone Dragon Taxis on 029 2033 3333 quoting ‘Cardiff University Safe Taxi Scheme’, giving your name and student number
  2. When the taxi arrives, give your student card to the driver to check your booking details
  3. When you get home, you’ll be given a receipt card detailing the fare incurred
  4. Within the next few days, visit the Finance Office at the Students’ Union and pay the price of your taxi fare
  5. Access to University services will be blocked if the taxi fare is not paid.

The DrinkAware Crew

The DrinkAware Crew are specially trained student staff working in bars and clubs to help reduce drunken anti-social behaviour and keep Cardiff Uni students safe. Look out for them in Y Plas and let them know if you need any help.

Watch this video about the DrinkAware Crew

Broaden your horizons and try something new

There are lots of amazing events going on over Freshers’ Week, and you can check out the full list here. Going on a trip, joining a society or even just staying in one evening with your housemates are all great ways of making friends. I met most of my friends through societies, so don’t be too disheartened if you don’t get on with your flat mates as well as you thought you would.


Student Support and Wellbeing Services are here for you

Whether it’s your first week, first term or third year, Cardiff University Student Support and Wellbeing Services are here to support all students. Find out more about Student Support here.

Useful links:

The DrinkAware Freshers’ Week Survival Guide

Drinkwise Wales Drinking Tips


Related blogs:

Be drink aware

Be drug aware

Time to talk about sex!


Contact the Counselling Health & Wellbeing Service

If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service who can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, however big or small.

The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service offer booked appointments via an online referral questionnaire, in which friendly, approachable staff can offer you non-judgmental support in a safe and confidential space. They also offer a daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (3pm-3.45pm: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9.30am-10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place)

If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website.


Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the bar below, and note any questions there too.

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Best wishes,

Victoria, Student Intern.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus. For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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