Fresher’s Fortnight Drink or WIN? – First Nights Out

Going out to parties and nights on the town are a part of many student’s experiences. Some planned their student life around these (un)forgettable adventures, whilst others would use them as an excuse to celebrate or let off steam after a time of stress. Whatever your reason and format of going crazy to music and fun, here are a few life rules I picked up during my years of evening antics!

DO: Budget Beforehand

So this one sounds a little killjoy out of the bat, but it’s also the easiest and one of the costliest (see what I did there?) mistake to make. Now you don’t need to make a spreadsheet about it, but work out your basics for the night and use this to decide:

  1. If you can afford to go out in the first place
  2. How much you’ll need for overheads (transport there/back, entrance fees etc).
  3. How much you’ll have leftover to spend.

To touch on a couple of these – when researching any nights out (depending on if you were given a ‘tour of the town’ by your student union, sports team, fresher parent, warden or friends with knowledge of the area), check for entry fees on flyers, social media or on the windows/boards of the venue. For most student places this shouldn’t be that expensive, but in bigger cities, it’s easy to get caught out if you didn’t bring a lot of money. Secondly, there may be extras you may later decide to drop money on too, such as gambling machines, toilet assistants and the all important post clubbing food. Figure out a ballpark at the beginning and any panic of this goes away on the night and any worry you might be in for a shock the next day will probably not happen. Also, super important one unless you’re rolling in the dough – don’t take your credit card and turn off your mobile payments! Sure you’ll pay it back on time, but given the only thing stopping you is your spending limit, this card becomes even more dangerous if you’re under the influence, especially if it’s NFC based like contactless cards and Apple/Google/Samsung Pay – the limits may be low in your currency, but they don’t stop you making multiple payments!!

DON’T: Feel Pressured

Night events are all about having fun, that includes you. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy something like drinking or certain activities then simply don’t do it. After all an event is what you make of it – so if you can have fun without doing anything you don’t want, then it will be fun. And if you prefer having a few drinks to liven things up, then within reason go nuts.

DO: Go With Friends

Now this one does have a bit of a blurred line in your fresher’s introductory weeks when you might not no anybody – but few like to party alone, so throw caution to the wind and arrange some time to have fun with new found friends or housemates. If neither of those fit your bill, try and meet some new people during your classes and strike up conversations when you’re on the town in the early bars.

DON’T: Try To Be ‘Hard’

Sure, you might like to be the alpha male or leading lady in your newly formed circle, but that doesn’t mean you need to fight each other or be cocky with the bar staff, bouncers and hosts. Sure they are here to serve you and you’re paying money for them to, but it doesn’t mean you’re above them by any means. If anything on an evening it can be quite the opposite given they have allowed you into their home or establishment and taken the time to come over to you to serve you beverages or food. When feeling threatened or abused, staff normally have the right to refuse service, have you asked to or removed from the premises and even ban you from entering. From experience of working in bars, I know the UK has a scheme known as “Pub Watch” that venues can opt into where each one gets access to a walkie-talkie and a central base whom monitor the local community CCTV. Get barred or arrested from one of one of these participating venues and you’ll be put on the communities blacklist where you’re name and likeness will be passed onto other members and your presence watched that night on camera to ensure you won’t be let into other member venues, nor cause trouble on the streets surrounding without sufficient prosecution following.

DO: Take Care of Yourself

Once you’ve got the basics out of the way above it’s time to let loose, have fun and enjoy life in the moment! But when it’s all done you want to be able to get home safely, rest and be up and ready the next day without too much of a scratch on yourself. In order for that to happen though you should take a few precautions and put a few things in place. For a drinker that parties hard for example, I would suggest:

  • A 2L/70Oz Bottle or a large sports cup of water by your bedside or couch/sofa and optionally a painkiller for the next day.
  • At least one pint of water during the night to take off the edge a little
  • Not mixing medication or any form of drugs simultaneously with alcohol. At least a few hours between.
  • Some food if it’s been a while since your last meal.
  • Enough charge on your phone to last the night in case you need a way to get home.

Nights out and parties can be fun times and for those new to it can become an easy way to let of steam with some friends once you have a sense of your favourite venues and people’s characters. Keep prepared and respect everyone else and I’m sure you’ll come out with a great chance of a WIN.



Drink or WIN? – Graduation

So, you’ve made it through 3 (or 4 or more) years of painfully sleepless nights, more books than you’ve probably read in your life, had highs, had lows, but the end is finally here and you’re about to get hold of the most expensive piece of paper you’ve ever owned. It can be both an exciting and also a scary day and as a result of a less than calm demeanour it can be easy to forget a few ground rules.

To help make sure you make this occasion a WIN on the big day, here’s a few dos and don’ts.

DO: Turn Up on Time

Despite feeling like weddings where things last all day, the ceremony itself is only a couple to a few of hours long and is strictly timed in an effort to get a large number of you announced, on stage, collecting your degree and back to your seat again – and considering you’re announced one by one it’s likely to take some time (which will also explain why some larger universities and colleges will graduate at different times of day and on different days). This means the ceremony has to start as on time as possible, and unlike a wedding, you’re not the only star, so if you’re not there once the actual awarding of degrees starts (in some institutions by the time the doors to your hall close), they’ll assume you are in absentia and you won’t get to partake in the ceremony as it happens (often having your degree arranged to be posted home).

DON’T: Wear Trainers, Tank Top/Vests and Shorts

Yes, during the main event you will be robed and capped, but remember that you won’t have these on all day and if you’re hiring you’ll still be turning up to a formal event in regular clothes and leaving in them, not to mention that the robe isn’t a dress and doesn’t cover your entire body. So it’s advised to dress appropriately as with any formal occasion. As a tip, many robes will actually hang from you (a bit like a fancy poncho) and will rely on an item of your clothing to hang on to so if possible, wear a shirt. If you’re more of a dress type, it’s wise to make sure it has some form of buttons sewn onto the front as these will be much better than the back up plan of a safety or needle style pin, which may rip your clothing from the weight of the robe!

Think smart. Dress Smart. Look Smart.

DO: Get Pictures with Friends

Graduation is ususally the last time you’ll see your housemates and uni friends together as ‘students’ (though really you’re now graduands/graduates), so just as you likely got pictures together in fresher’s week, take the time to complete the chapter together before you all go out into the big wide world. It’s worth doing it now, rather than just waiting until the after party since you can’t guarantee you’ll get around to it after all the hugs, pints, shots and reminiscing.

DON’T: Get Drunk Before the Ceremony is Out

I hate to sound like the party pooper here, since the big day is all about celebrating getting to the end – which for many is synonymous with popping a cork or cracking a can, but don’t get too ahead of yourself! You’ve still got to sit through one more session as well as get up and across stage in front of the seniors of your institution, and make it back to your seat – and this isn’t an ideal time to attempt a challenge! It’s worth noting that you’ll get to sip champagne afterwards (sometimes provided by the university!) and there’s always a graduation party somewhere that you won’t want to be hungover for. So Party on! – Just save it until School’s well and truly out!

DO: Have an Awesome Time!

You worked hard to make it this far through numerous years! Granted the ceremony may come across as a little traditional, but it’s a special occasion in your life and something many people will only get to do once in a lifetime (unless you’re taking an academic career path of course). So congratulations if you’re getting your extra letters this year to your name and provided you follow these tips and your uni’s customs right, I’m confident you’ll be able to celebrate your graduation as a WIN!


Take care and the best of luck to all those graduating in the next few weeks