Being safe

When you start uni, it’s likely that you’ll meet new friends, have a great social life and enjoy the opportunity to connect with lots of people and it can be easy to let your guard down when doing so. To help you think about your own personal safety at uni, we’ve put together some helpful suggestions that will enable you to take steps to keep safe.

Safe Socialising

Socialising is a great way to balance out the stress of studying and there are plenty of bars/clubs, societies and activities available for you to attend. Below are some key points to consider:

  • Many students can feel pressured into going out drinking with new friends in order to ‘fit in’. If you feel unsure about going out drinking with a certain person or group, it’s ok to wait until you get to know them better.
  • Not everyone wants to go out drinking so there’ll be other opportunities for socialising that you can try.
  • Please respect people’s decisions if they choose not to take part in certain activities or events
  • If you haven’t had much experience of drinking alcohol prior to coming to uni, you may not yet have learnt about your tolerance level for alcohol. Levels will vary for each person and yours may not be the same as your new friends’.
  • When you’re out, keep an eye on your drink and ask someone you trust to watch it if you’re going to leave it for a while.
  • It’s best not to accept drinks bought for you by people you don’t know and trust, unless you’re completely sure that nothing has been added to it. Any drink can be spiked with drugs or more alcohol. If your drink tastes different or unusual in any way either throw it away or use a testing stick (available online) to check it. Remember – anyone can have their drink spiked. Be vigilant with your drink.
  • If you notice that you’re feeling drunk much quicker than expected or you feel muscle weakness in your arms and legs, let one of your friends know so that they can look after you. Make your way to a safe place and ask your friend to stay with you until you feel better. The same applies if you notice a change in your friend’s behaviour, take them to a safe place and look after them until they feel better.
  • If you become concerned about your own or somebody else’s wellbeing call the university security services if you’re on campus or, in a medical emergency, the Ambulance service.
  • Always plan your evening before you set out to ensure that you’re going to be able to get home with friends rather than on your own.
  • Watch out for your friends and where they are during the evening. This is particularly important at the end of the evening when people tend to drift off.

Safe studying

There will be times where you’ll end up studying late, whether it’s on campus or round a friend’s house. Take these precautions to keep yourself safer:

  • Always keep your phone charged and on your person. Take a spare cable/battery pack with you too, just in case.
  • Stick to pathways that are lit and if possible, ones with security cameras.
  • At Reading, we offer a uni night bus for students to get home from the library when studying late at night. Check with your uni to see what they offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to inform a security guard or Hall Warden if you think there’s something unsafe about someone’s behaviour on campus.
  • If no-one is around, find any member of staff who will be able to help.

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This article is from the free online course:

Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University

University of Reading