It may be the first time you've lived away from home and had to take care of yourself. You'll probably be making a new group of friends, who may stay with you for the rest of your life. You might pick up new hobbies or habits, discover new interests and take the first steps in your career.
It's also around this time that you begin to be treated as an adult by society. You'll have more choice about what you do and who you'll be than ever before. But be aware that, as an adult, you are responsible for yourself and your actions. Here are some of the things you should consider to get the most out of your time at university, whilst staying safe and secure.
Student life doesn't have to revolve around alcohol, you can still have an active, hangover-free social life whilst at university. But if you do decide to take part in drinking, please so do responsibly and make sure you know your limits.
Eating plenty before drinking will not only line your stomach, but it can even rid the effects of the next morning's hangover. Don't let drinking games, peer pressure or social media fads convince you to put yourself at risk. Look out for each other and make sure everyone gets home safely.
Avoid drinks that you have not seen being poured and never leave a drink unattended. If you or a friend start to feel unusually drunk or unwell, find friends that you trust, get to a safe place and seek immediate medical help.
Follow our party safety tips and always plan your journey home. The British Transport Police provide information and advice for staying safe whilst travelling, visit a drop-in session to find out more. Respect your neighbours on the way home, you are part of the local community while you're here, and your actions reflect on yourself and the University. Be aware of alcohol and drug's effect on a person's capacity for sexual consent, and never violate a person's trust when they are vulnerable.
Sexual health is more than protecting yourself or your partner from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases – it’s about being informed, confident and in control, respected and respectful. You can find information, support and advice on local services on the Sexual Wellness web page.
Everyone arrives at university with different experiences and ideas about sex. If you've never thought about or discussed sexual consent before then you're not alone. Sexual consent means a person willingly agrees to have sex or engage in sexual activity - and they are free and able to make their own decision. Any sexual contact without consent is illegal and can have serious consequences, take time to understand sexual consent and how it can be given and/or withdrawn.
Many of USW's Support Services use the online support system Advice Zone Online which is a 'one-stop-shop' for all student queries. If you're unsure where to start, the Advice Zone offers a welcoming first point of contact.