by Lydia Jackson
For many, part of the university experience (and especially for a fresher) is the ability to have unencumbered nights out away from parents without judgement, other than that of friends who are mostly in the same situation. This is part of a bonding experience between people from different backgrounds and different perspectives, sharing a commonality in going to the SU and enjoying a few or more VK’s whilst throwing their shapes. Whilst this is all in the name of fun, it is essential to remember the all too forgettable fact that there are certain implications of ‘losing your inhibitions’.
A common initiative is to attend ‘pres’ and have a few drinks before going out to help save on the expense of the club (to get your money’s worth before heading out of the door). Whilst this, at the time, appears to be a ‘cost effective’ approach, there are certainly risks which should be considered. A common misconception by many is their recognition of the levels to which they have been drinking (alcohol unit guidelines are no more than 14 units a week). It is extremely important to know your limits, implementing tactics to prevent ‘the haze’, and maintaining the ethos of an enjoyable night, whilst ensuring safety.
After the rush of the day a good meal and ensuring that you are well hydrated with water are seriously underestimated. Both are also a great way of preventing a hangover in the morning – bonus! Charging your phone, remembering your keys, and making sure you have your ID to hand are also a good start. These things are all too easy to forget, and let’s be honest, the latter three are an absolute pain to realise you’re without if you’re at the door of a venue. Once inside, it is essential to ensure that you and your friends are not left alone, and that if someone splits from the group you know where they are and who they’re with. It’s easy to be distracted by someone, or your favourite tune, therefore it’s a good idea to decide on a certain bar within each club to meet and get drinks at. This way no one is left behind, you can help anyone who may have had a few too many, and you can let people know where you’re going if you decide to leave early. It is also advised to not leave drinks on the side to return to later, even just for a few minutes, as it is not uncommon for people both male and female to be spiked. If a drink tastes strange, and you or a friend feels drowsy, a bouncer should be informed.
Whilst we all feel the pinch in our pockets after a night on (or at) ‘the lash’ it is impertinent to ensure that everyone gets home safely. You should always find housemates or friends to go home with if you can, but if you’re alone it is strongly recommended that you get a cab (another reason to remember your wallet and phone). Although Cardiff is a particularly friendly city, it is not without risk. The sexual assaults last year are an example of this, as well as fights, getting lost or simply feeling nervous. All in all, to get the most out of a night out, be prepared, have a reasonable head on your shoulders and take precautions to make sure you get home safe. University is a great time to make great friends and great memories, the most important thing is to have a good time!