When you think about starting university, you expect to be filled with excitement about what the next three or four years of your life will be like. But you may still be nervous so to help we've put together some common concerns from students and how to deal with them.
Staying safe at university.
Your time at uni should be one of the most enjoyable and exciting times of your life, and it should be something you’re free to enjoy. Whether you’re a fresher or been at uni for a few years its always good to have a little reminder of how to stay safe while living with Host. To start here’s five safety basics:
A few more tips for staying safe when you’re out and about enjoying uni life:
Keep your phone safe.
5 minutes effort now with these four tips, will give you peace of mind no matter what happens:
- Use a Strong pin/password, on your phone.
- Make sure you include Emergency/Lost contact details in your phone check out these blogs on how to do it on Android and iPhone.
- Download a Phone finder app.
- There are loads of applications for smart phones which turns a phone into a panic alarm.
Be social but stay safe online.
Online security has never been so important, you need to ensure that you keep yourself as alert online as you would in real life.
Don’t be afraid to post updates on an event you’re at, tweet your thoughts and feelings or posting that amazing burger you had on Instagram, but when you do post think carefully about what you say and who could see it.
- Keep your profile closed and restrict who can see your information.
- Be careful how much you reveal about yourself, it could be used by cyber criminals.
- Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a future employer or family member to see.
- Don’t post offensive or intimidating comments.
- Think about the pictures you upload & who may share them, even with snapchat the image may only last 24hrs but it only takes one person to screenshot it and they have it forever.
- Never click on links if you can’t see it’s from a trusted source.
- Never give out personal information by text, email or over the phone unless you are 100% sure it’s genuine.
- Install antivirus to protect your devices from malware, spyware or viruses.
- Protect all your devices with a password, PIN or biometric security.
- Back it up! Always back up your data to USB or the cloud. This is for coursework as well as those thousands of memories stored in your phones photo album.
Make sure your night is always memorable for the right reasons and be aware of your personal safety, not just on nights out.
But when on a night out, it’s always best to stay in a group. It means you can keep an eye on each other. You’re more likely to get into trouble if you wander off from your group. By remaining close to the people you trust and know well, you’ll reduce the risk of being targeted by people who are up to no good and could be out to take advantage.
Consider setting up a WhatsApp group for the night and then if anyone does go it alone, you can message or call them, but never leave the rest of your group on your own to find someone.
Know where you’re going, how you’re getting there and who you’re meeting. Plan your return journey and tell friends your whereabouts.
Drink less, enjoy more.
Even though 1 in 6 students are now teetotal, the majority of you will want to enjoy the freedom and hit the town. Five of our locations made the top five of the student nightlife index for 2019. The index looked at 5 nightlife factors:
🎵 – Nightlife Options | 🍺 – Price of a pint | 🚕 – Price of a Taxi | 🛡️ – Safety Score | 🍔 – Number of takeaways.
But, remember a night out on the town isn’t about getting absolutely wasted. More than likely getting drunk will ruin the night out for you and your mates. To avoid that here are our top tips to help make the night more enjoyable:
- Most of us enjoy a few pre-drinks before going out, but too many pre-drinks are a risk. Especially if you’re not in control of your measures.
- Eat first – Drinking on an empty stomach can cause you to pass out and eating first helps you to absorb alcohol less quickly. Which means, you won’t get drunk as fast.
- Keep hydrated! – Mixing soft drinks into your night will help stop you becoming drunk (and minimise your chances of having a hangover). Did you know that any bar, club or restaurant that has an alcohol licence, has to give you tap water for free, by law?
- Bars aren’t allowed to serve alcohol to anyone who’s excessively drunk. They risk losing their licences if they do! You also won’t be allowed into bars and clubs if you are drunk.
To avoid getting spiked:
- Avoid drinks you didn’t see being poured.
- Never leave drinks unattended.
- Never accept a drink from a stranger or someone you don’t trust.
- Drinking from a bottle? Keep your thumb over the top of the bottle between sips.
- If you feel ill, slightly drunk or wasted when you know you shouldn’t, your drink could have been spiked. If so, tell someone you trust and get to a safe place
And if that’s all too much – there’s always having a few drinks at home… Takeaway, movie and a few drinks (and we mean just a few!) with your flat mates – happy days!
Leave no man behind.
When you’re leaving to go home, make sure no one is left behind and don’t leave anyone to wait around on their own. If someone in the group wants to go home early, don’t let them go alone, and never let them walk. Ask your student union for a trusted local taxi firm, and whenever possible travel with friends. Never accept a lift from or go home with a stranger, no matter how tired, wet or late you are.
Never get into a taxi if you haven’t booked it yourself from a known company. Flagged down a licenced taxi with a light on. Or got a taxi from an official taxi rank. Always check the vehicle has a taxi licence plate and the drivers badge is displayed.
Safe Taxi Scheme.
Most universities now operate a safe taxi scheme. Where even if you have no money left you can still get home safely after a night out. In many cases the drop-off point must be a student residential address. Halls of Residence. Police Station or Hospital and then pay for it the next day. Speak with your SU to find out all the details for your uni.
If you must walk home do so in a group and stick to busy, well-lit areas where you know there will be other people around and probably CCTV in operation. Where possible walk, facing on-coming traffic. And be alert. Never listen to music or use your phone on the way home as this will almost certainly distract you. Never use short-cuts such as parks, underpasses or dingy alleyways. Walk with confidence and purpose. This way you will not come across like a victim.
Check with your university campus security if they offer free personal safety equipment. Some universities offer their students a whole range of personal safety equipment. From charm alarms, which can sound up to a 110db alarm when activated. To secret pockets, which are a wallet for holding valuables, which is worn around the neck and under your clothing. And even bungee devices, that allow you to attach your phone to your clothing or bag using a silicone strap.
Avoid walking home whenever possible. Use a pre-booked taxi or get one from an official taxi rank. Always dial 999 in an emergency, or 101 to report a non-emergency crime.
Keep valuables hidden.
People will often have valuables stolen on a night out and if you’re drunk, you are an easier target. Keep all valuables like phones, wallets and purses in zipped pockets or bags. Ideally, leave valuables such as jewellery at home. But if you must take them out with you then keep them safely hidden. Avoid carrying huge amounts of money with you. Try to take the amount you think you will need.
Don’t be a hero.
If there is a fight or an argument, think twice about stepping in. Usually the best option is to stay out of it and get help from bouncers or the police.
And finally… Trust your instincts.
Remember, that you’re an adult, and your instincts will usually be accurate. If something doesn’t feel right. Even if you can’t pinpoint why, talk to your mates and walk away from the situation. You shouldn’t let yourself get into uncomfortable situations, and if you do, don’t feel awkward, just leave.
Source: South Wales Police – USafe booklet | Crimestoppers
Getting serious about the environment we live in.
To become more ‘environmentally friendly’, Host is launching the #HostEnvironmentalPledge campaign to encourage responsible behaviour and drive sustainability across our sites throughout the UK and Ireland.
It’s a simple campaign! If we can reduce our overall utilities (electric, water and gas) consumption by 1% then we will donate £10,000, 2% reduction means £20,000, 3% is £30,000 and so on, to 3 charities; BulliesOut, Planet Patrol and World Land Trust.Show me all news
Sharing your student experience with other people can be fun, exciting and rewarding. To ensure it stays that way, here are some helpful tips you can follow to be the best flatmate possible. It's pretty simple.
We've updated our getting ready for uni blog, and we've split our tips into different parts so that we can bring you all the details you will need over the next few months as you prepare for September and move in day.