By Rhiannon James
It is easy to get caught up in the independence of university life. For many students it’s the first time away from parents/guardians, therefore the lack of curfew, rules and accountability makes moving away from home and beginning your university journey an exciting time. But, at the risk of sounding like a parent, it is also a time where you gain a lot of responsibility. Academic responsibility; no more teachers chasing you to do work it’s up to you to do your best, Financial responsibility; budgeting your weekly shop and lastly a responsibility of looking after yourself and maintaining your personal well-being – this includes staying safe in a new location.
Nights out are a big part of fresher’s week for many new students, although it must be noted going “out out” to the SU isn’t the only bonding activity that Cardiff University has to offer – there are multiple societies offering welcome chats or pizza parties to freshers, be sure to check out the societies fresher’s fair. You may be no stranger to a night-out, but you are new to the city, therefore knowing how to get home after the night has finished is important. Cardiff University have a partnership with Dragon Taxi that aims to keep students safe – the ‘Safe Taxi Scheme’. An example of how it works; if you find yourself alone and without any cash, you can contact Dragon Taxi, provide your name and student number and they will safely return you to your university halls. You will receive a receipt from the taxi driver and then you will be able to pay this at the Finance Office at the Student’s Union within the next few days. For more information on this partnership, go to Cardiff University’s Students Union website and search ‘Safe Taxi Scheme’.
It is typical for students to drink alcohol on a night out, I’m sure you’ll quickly be introduced to Cardiff’s favourite; VK’s! According to the NHS, alcohol effects the brain’s decision-making process, therefore making it more likely for the individual to take risks. In order to consume alcohol responsibly I have a few pointers to keep in mind. Firstly, pace yourself, knowing your limit when it comes to alcohol can save you from serious situations and also seriously embarrassing situations! Staying in groups is important, the saying ‘safety in numbers’ is true, but also who wants to be on their own on a night out anyway? You need your dancing partners! Keep watch of your drink and your belongings, if you think you’ve left your drink alone for too long and someone could’ve tampered with it – leave it! It’s better to waste a drink than to suffer the consequences of being spiked.
Although this article may sound as if I’m taking the fun out of fresher’s week or asking you to constantly worry whilst on a night-out, this isn’t my aim. I am a third-year student who has experienced plenty of Cardiff night’s out and I assure you it is much easier to have fun when you know you are in a safe environment and are taking precautions to avoid an unsafe situation. You can’t have fun if you’re not staying safe!