University Freshers – Simple but valuable advice for your first year

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The first week at University can be a scary and exciting one, to say the least. New surroundings, away from home for the first time and lots and lots of new faces. We want you to be prepared, to hit the ground running and concentrate on enjoying your Freshers Week.

Right, here’s your first lesson of the semester. It’s not a lecture, don’t panic! Just some quick tips that may come in handy. So, take out your new stationery and take some notes, there will be no handouts or PowerPoint slides available, but there may be a test.

Packing for University

This can be a nightmare; most students have never lived alone before and have no idea what they need. It’s almost impossible to think what will fit into the space you have (which will be small!) and what are the essentials. Before you try and wedge your kitchen sink into the back of your parent’s car, think about it and take the things that will make you comfy, happy and content. Remember this room is going to be your new home!

University Packing

Here’s a list of essentials:

Keepsake

Whether a favourite photo or a teddy bear, you’ll need this to cheer you up when you’re down or to remind you of home.

Hot water bottle/Fan

You never know what the weather will be, so emergency heat and cooling is a must

First aid kit

Accidents will always happen, plus we know where you can get a good one

Coat hangers

If you forget these you’ll be living out of your suitcase

2 Sets of bedding

Don’t make wash day even more stressful, have an extra set

Cleaning products

You’re living in student accommodation, you’re going to need these

Extension plug

Believe us, you won’t have enough sockets in your room for your laptop, phone charger and hair straighteners!

Laundry basket

This will stop you throwing dirty clothes on the floor and it will also help with the trip to the laundrette

Kitchen equipment

If you’re self-catering you’ll need a set of plates, cutlery, Tupperware, glasses and your favourite mug

Clothes

Obviously you need these, but what to take? You can’t take everything so it’s best to take your favourite outfits, some comfy trainers, a waterproof coat, a smart option for events and some pyjamas (A fire drill at night could be embarrassing otherwise).

First Aid Knowledge

Accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. However, they usually happen more when people get a little excitable and rowdy. We’re not saying you should be Captain Sensible telling everyone “Don’t do this…” “Be careful with that…” as this won’t help your popularity. We want you to be prepared should there be an accident. This way you’ll be the ‘Halls of Residence Hero’!

Before you leave for University, book yourself on a First Aid course if you possible. Parents, you could do this together as a last-minute family day before they go. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

University First Aid

In a basic class you’ll learn:

Basic CPR

The class will teach you how to help someone who isn’t breathing or their heart has stopped beating. We personally believe everybody should learn this skill, because if you’re in this scenario and you don’t have the skills, you’ve lost a friend.

Defibrillator

You will be shown how to correctly use a defib in an emergency. Hopefully, your university will have its own defibrillators on site. It would be a good idea to ask where these are when you arrive.

Arterial blood loss

Dealing with traumatic bleeding is worlds apart from dressing a standard cut. The course will show the correct dressings and techniques. For more information on this click here.

Choking

This skill could be a lifesaver at a party or even in a lecture. The class will show you the techniques you need to save somebody who is choking.

Nights Out Safety

At University there is no such thing as a weekend, parties happen any night of the week and during Freshers Week it’s EVERY NIGHT! The key is, before you go out, make yourself a plan. So that the night goes smoothly, and you and your friends get home safe.

University Party

Firstly, plan how you’re going to get home and who you’ll be coming home with. It’s best to go to places in a group and leave as a group (we understand this can change throughout a night). This way you can check on each other throughout the night and keep each other safe.

If people start disappearing, you need to stay with somebody and not get left alone. If you find yourself left with the “drunk friend” and you’re struggling, don’t try and carry them home on your own. There are usually bus, taxi services and emergency helplines you can call to make sure you and your over-indulged friend make it home safe. Make sure to speak to the University and Student Union about these when you arrive, take photos of any leaflets and put telephone numbers into your phone. Most Universities have agreements with local taxi firms where students with no money can have a tab that can be paid the following day, when the hangover settles.

Dealing with a drunk friend

Hopefully in your group of friends you will all look after each other should someone get a little bit too drunk. Try to make sure as a group, or on your own, when you’ve had a little too much you stay safe. Enjoy your night and stay away from dangerous situations, don’t get behind the wheel and stay away from open water.

There will always be a night out when you or a friend get a little drunk, but you need to know whether it can be slept off or is it a serious problem? If the person looks like they’re asleep but you literally cannot wake them, they look like they are choking or have slow/erratic breathing then you must call for help.

University drunk

If you are in University Halls there will be help numbers to send immediate assistance, if not don’t be afraid to call 999. Once you have called for the help, stay with the person and monitor them. You’ll need to give the Ambulance responders every detail of where you’ve been, how many drinks etc so they can treat accordingly. Your friend may have taken drugs which the ambulance staff MUST be told, a reaction to a drug could be lethal.

If you manage to wake them and they’re breathing fine, place them into a recovery position (you’ll have learnt this at your First Aid course) and stay with them.

Remember, help is always there

Now you’re ready to pack the car and get ready for some fun! We have mentioned some scary things, but really, it’s only about being prepared for the worst. If, however, something happens that you’re not prepared for, or you’re struggling with anything – don’t worry, stay calm, help is always there.

Whether in the form of a friend, your parents, a tutor, a helpline or even a website. Don’t allow yourself to struggle in silence. Just ask for help and it is there, just reach out.