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.



Maximising Your Night Out

A night out is often the pinnacle of student lifestyle, whether it’s a visit to the cinema, a restaurant or more commonly, on the town.

In order for you to actually make it through these nights without hurling, passing out in the street, destroying friendships or spending part of your night in a police van or ambulance it’s worth considering these little tips.

Please note, this article focuses mostly on drinking alcohol, but it can apply to those who aren’t drinking too much or who are under any sort of influence.

Whatever your poison, please enjoy responsibly and know your limits.

Have Somebody Responsible Available

It always helps to have ‘responsible’ people nearby if you plan to let your hair down, on the off chance something doesn’t quite go to plan. This doesn’t necessarily mean a friend has to stay sober as a judge with you all night. A responsible person can be anyone in a fit state to help you or look after you – a housemate that’s staying in, friendly bar or waiting staff or a residential warden. These people will make sure you stay having fun during the night, know when you’ve had enough and ensure that you’re still in a fit state to get home, or if not make sure that you can get home and hopefully not end up in too dangerous of antics (i.e.: Passing out on the toilet in a locked bathroom, falling asleep in somebody’s garden, jumping off a roof, or skinny dipping in ice cold water).

Many people will follow an unspoken take of turns and help each other back to houses, sat down, drinking some water and in worse case scenario making sure you get into your room and into bed okay.

Mix It Up (with Water)

Now I know everyone thinks it’s lame to drink water part way thorough the night, but it’s a proven tactic (particularly if your tolerance is lower), that if you drink a pint of water every few bottles/glasses of booze it’ll slow you down generally and allow you to party on through the night, rather than downing it all in one go and finishing yourself off before you even make it out of the door.

Keeping hydrated also reduces the feeling of sickness and will help to counteract the dehydration alcohol will create.

Think Your Outfit Through

I’ll be careful with this one. Now if it’s regular night out, wear whatever feels comfortable. Dress up, look sharp/pretty, enjoy yourself!

If it’s a theme night or it’s winter though, think function before fashion. What I mean by this is: question those heels or those smooth shoes before you step out the door and think likewise is a black shirt in a busy club in the height of summer a wise choice.

Ask yourself, will I be stable enough to walk?  is there foam/water/ice involved? (I’ve known friends break ankles wearing heels in slippery foam) Will the foam ruin my clothes? (Never ever wear suede!) Will I be warm enough? If I decide to go for a spontaneous swim in the sea, can I walk home in these clothes?

I know it sounds silly, but if you make a few sensible choices on top of deciding what looks good, your really expensive clothes will live to see another night and so will you!

Don’t Talk Taboo After Two

Ever heard of the phrase “Nothing Good Ever Happens after 2am”? Well Ted from How I Met Your Mother was certainly right for some topics! One important thing to do once inebriated is to avoid confronting more controversial topics. These can include trying to resolve or announce a conflict with a friend or partner, talk about social taboos within your circles or express negative feelings towards others. It sounds a little obvious, but it’s very easy to do when under the influence and sadly it’s very easy to react too, often leading to arguments, disrupting yours and your friends’ nights or worse – leading to  violent fights that will inevitably get you, your opponent and anybody that decides to get involved thrown out of the venue you’re in, possible barring and (if started or continued in a public street) may also get you arrested for assault.

If you wouldn’t say it to somebody in the street when you’re sober, don’t think about it when you’re drunk or it might just not end well.

And Finally

Have fun responsibly. Despite many primary school programs making partying looks like it’s all terrible for you, it is possible (yet not at all necessary) to drink and enjoy yourself if it’s kept in moderation. Likewise you shouldn’t need to drink to have a good time if you don’t wish to. But otherwise, keep a level head, have a laugh or two and enjoy the times you get to go out to the fullest.

One last tip. If you do decide to drink, make yourself two pints of water up before you go out and as soon as you get in, drink one before you sleep. You’ll see why the next day when you’ll want the other one 😉




Lectures & Seminars

Undoubtedly you’ve noticed since you’ve joined student life,  College and University teaching is on a whole different level compared to your school classes. For starters,  they’re usually much longer and,  particularly in the case of lectures feel something akin to  going to a cinema rather than a lesson (only less exciting and with no overpriced popcorn).  Now,  some people are cut out for lectures and can happily take in and write notes on the swarm of information thrown at you on the slides and spoken by your teacher. Others struggle to understand it or lose focus around the 45+ minute mark (the rough single track attention span of studying young adults).  Either way, if you’re struggling to get it all in and you’re afraid of having no reference when asked question in the seminar, here’s a few tips to keep you both to the lectures themselves and surviving the endless drone).

Keep Hydrated

Let’s be honest, you’re going to be in there a while and whilst your coffee/tea/energy drink might keep you awake and alert, you’ll get thirsty and the caffeine does only work for a finite amount of time. Water will help fuel your system whilst you’re in there and whilst it might not feel like it at first, it will help to keep you hydrated, which in turn will help to keep your focus (why do you think Athletes live by the stuff?). Bottles of water are usually the best bet as these are allowed in most lecture spaces. Make sure you have a lid on though or when you accidentally knock it (which it possible if you’re scrawling notes at speed) you’ll give your notes and the person in front of you an unwanted shower! – even if they probably could do with one!

Pens and Pencils

Even in this day and age it’s worth keeping these close at hand so you can get everything down. If you’re a technology user, it’s worth keeping at least one pen about as you’ll need one to sign in to prove you’ve been there (unless your campus has upgraded to the new badge/fob scanners). They’re also useful just in case your battery goes flat and you need to quickly transfer to a lo-fi solution. If you’re still an old school writer, take at least two – that way if you do lend one to a friend or peer (which if you don’t know them that well there’s a small chance you might never see again), you still have something to write with and it’s great as a back up for other emergencies too (e.g: Pen running out or pencil lead snapping and you forget to bring a sharpener).

Use Evernote or OneNote to Remember & Annotate Stuff

If you’re a laptop or device user, you might find typing notes an easier and more readable method. However there’s only so much help that Text Wrangler, Word or Writer can do to help with note taking at speed. Microsoft’s OneNote really shines here and comes bundled with the most basic versions of Microsoft Office (Home & Student). The notebooks will allow you to write anywhere on the page and bring in tables, bullet or numbered lists and images as quick as a few key taps or dragging and dropping. Best of all, this is automatically saved as you type, so you’ll never miss a word. OneNote is available on a huge number of platforms allowing you to synchronise your notebook through Office 365 (which online is free for students and teachers with an academic email address) or as a Notebook file through a network drive or OneDrive. The Program is available on Windows and Mac computers, on iOS (phone and tablet versions) and watchOS, Andorid (phone and tablet versions)/Android Wear, Chromebook and online through If you’re not an office user, never fear! Evernote is a free service (With a premium upgrade that’s 75% off for students,  for more features) on  that allows you to take a similar approach. Admittedly the “type anywhere” feature isn’t part of their notes, but you can import many things natively and everything else will be included as an attachment. The main selling point to Evernote (like many programs and apps these days) is that it backs up to the cloud (known internally as “Syncing”). This can be done periodically or on demand by pressing any of the large Sync buttons in the program or device apps and once completed can be accessed on any session you run on another device – which can range from PC or Mac programs, iOS, Android apps or the Web based version at

Can’t Keep Up? Record It

It’s worth getting permission for this one first. If you’re struggling to take in the talk first time around or you can’t keep up with writing notes, see if you’re allowed to record the lecture for playback later on. There are many options for this from inexpensive dictaphone style recorders to more high end capsule or externally connectable portable recorders. If you’re on a shoestring budget and have a smartphone or tablet handy that can pick up the lecturer or PA system, use that. I will be covering recorders like these in a later post on the sister site WAVE Media but if you’re already struggling and need one in the next couple of weeks try the phrase “portable recorder” on sites like Amazon or eBay or your local music/electronics shops.

Get the Slides

Much like obtaining the voice, if there’s some important data that you want from the lecture (that you can’t find from their references), ask nicely if you can get a copy of the lecture slides. You might have thumbnail versions on a hand out, but having a printed or digital copy will always help, particularly with visual learners that may have associated a particular part of the lecture with a particular slide. If you were lucky like I was in my later uni years, they may have already uploaded the slides (or plan to) to your respective virtual learning environment or LMS (e.g: Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai etc) so you can download them when you’re next in the library or on your computer.   I hope these few tips may help you out in the many years of being talked at and – on the rare occasion – talking back to your lecturer and your classmates.   For those of you that already have a few lectures and seminars under your belt, what methods do you use to retain the information? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below. Thanks for reading and class dismissed!   Mike