Responsible drinking during Freshers’

Written by Advice, On Campus, University

Freshers’ week. On paper, it’s a great opportunity to make new friends, and get to know your university town. In reality, it’s often little more than an excuse to go wild, now that you’re safely away from Mum and Dad. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks during freshers’, this article will provide a few tips on how to do so safely.


Remember that freshers’ lasts a whole week

This might sound obvious, but freshers’ lasts for a whole week. That means that there’s a whole week’s worth of events for you to enjoy.

However, making the most of every night of freshers’ can be difficult when you’ve ended up in A&E, spent all your cash, and given yourself an evil hangover, all by the end of night one.

If you plan on going out every night of freshers’ week, it’s important to pace yourself. You don’t want to drink so much alcohol on night one that you’re out of action for the rest of the week, whether that’s due to injury, illness or lack of funds.


Don’t ever let yourself be pressured into exceeding your limits, or trying something dangerous

You are totally capable of turning down another drink (or even your very first drink, if you’d rather stay sober), if you think drinking more alcohol could make you dangerously drunk. If any of your new friends think this makes you ‘boring’, then they’re not someone worth befriending, anyway.

When it comes to people encouraging you to take illegal drugs, remember how dangerous they can be, and never allow yourself to be pressured into taking an unknown substance. Whilst I can’t condone the use of drugs, if you are going to take them, ensure you tell a trusted friend exactly what you plan on taking, and never take them whilst alone. This way, someone will always be able to seek medical assistance for you, if needed.


Make sure you’re fully prepared for a night out

If you want to have a safe night on the Toon, and to reduce your chances of being ill, then you should take the following steps before you’ve even left your accommodation.

Firstly, you should always ‘line your stomach’ before drinking, preferably by eating something high in carbohydrates, to reduce your chances of getting too drunk too quickly, or making yourself ill.

Before a night out, you should also make sure your phone is charged. This way, you can call your friends if you get separated while you’re out, and you can always call a taxi to take you home. Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to research licensed taxi firms operating in the Newcastle area before your first night out, so you know that any taxi you take is safe and operating legally.

(Deputy Editor interrupting here. Also make sure to download a Google Map of the areas that you are likely to go. Just trust me on this one).


Practise sensible drinking while you’re out

A good way of ensuring you don’t get too drunk whilst out is to drink glasses of water, or a soft drink, in between alcoholic drinks. This is particularly important if you’re drinking shots.


Never leave your drink unattended

In order to avoid your drink being ‘spiked’, make sure you keep an eye on it at all times. At the start of the night, make an agreement with a friend that if one of you goes to the bathroom or smoking area, the other will watch their drink. It’s also a good idea to decline any offers to try strangers’ drinks, unless you’ve actively observed them drinking from the same cup.


No man should be left behind

If you go out as a group, make sure you return home as a group, too. This is especially important during freshers’, when you’re unlikely to know your way around Newcastle just yet. If you have a friend who seems likely to want to go off on a solo adventure after a few drinks (let’s be honest, there’s always one!), then it might be a good idea to download an app like Find My Friend, so you can monitor their location and make sure they get home safe.

On the subject of friends, it’s also important to actually be a good friend during freshers’. By this, I mean that you should remember your friends’ safety always comes above any drinking game or challenge. Never encourage someone who’s overly intoxicated to drink more, even if it seems funny at the time, and be sure to help them home.

If you do get separated from your friends, remember that members of freshers’ crew are always situated around the city, and are easily identified by their bright t-shirts and fancy dress. They’ll be more than happy to help you home.


Remember that a sober freshers’ week is not a bad freshers’ week

If reading this article has simply confirmed that you don’t want to drink alcohol during freshers’ week, then that’s fine, too. A sober freshers’ week can be great fun!

You can enjoy many of the university’s daytime events, and there are always ‘alternative’ evening events scheduled, which don’t focus on alcohol. If you enjoy dancing, you could even go to the same events as your friends, and simply order a soft drink at the bar. If you feel at all self-conscious about not drinking alcohol in a club, ask for your soft drink to be served with a slice of lime or lemon and, if anyone asks, tell them it’s a spirit and mixer. It’s perfectly possible to have a great freshers’ week, without a horrible hangover the next day.

However you choose to celebrate freshers’, have a fun and safe time, and remember that drinking as much as possible doesn’t have to be the sole aim of your week.

Last modified: 22nd September 2019

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