Congratulations new students. Welcome to some of the best years of your lives; three, four, five or more years studying in an amazing city with culture and experiences in every direction. The expectation will be that you are going to experience most of this culture in your first week; Fresher’s Week.

Events happen every day and every night, often into the early hours of the morning. On campus events, and bar crawls in town will have you busy for hours on end; you’ll lose track of time as you make new friends and dance the night away. But there are some things that you should consider. Your parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles may have given you the “be careful” talk, that the majority of people will get, but this time, it’s our turn to give you the advice from a student perspective.

Fresher’s weeks are known for being alcohol fuelled. Some students will be able to “hold their liquor”, but if you are not a fellow drinker you need to take some precautionary steps and know the impacts that excess alcohol will have on your body.

When alcohol enters the body, it is processed and broken down by the liver, and then enters the bloodstream. The liver is able to handle a moderate amount of alcohol, but once this limit is exceeded (every body has its own limit), the body can no longer breakdown the alcohol at a normal rate. There will inevitably be a lot of pressure to keep up with other friends, but one of the most sensible things to do, when on a night out, would be to drink at your own rate. Forget trying to down your drinks every 10 minutes, instead, pace yourself so that you can enjoy the whole night, incident free!

Drinking at your own rate, will also mean that you can have total control over what you put into your body. Unfortunately, there are more and more cases of drinks being “spiked” with unknown or illegal substances. Paying attention to the people who are around you is imperative if you are to ensure your safety. The dangers are multiplied, because they are often unidentifiable when in your drink. Most substances are colourless and tasteless; hence, they are virtually impossible to identify. They can present their effects in a variety of ways, including hallucinations, dizziness, nausea and a greater degree of drunkenness than expected. If you feel that you or one of your friends has been the target of a spiking, then the best course of action would be to seek medical help and advice immediately.

University is one of the biggest adventures that you may have experienced up to this point in your life, but to really enjoy this opportunity, you must be aware of your surroundings on all occasions. Have fun during the nights out, but don’t take risks. Eat well, to soak up the alcohol and slow down the process of alcohol entering the bloodstream; keep hold of your drink, and don’t let strangers give you drinks without your knowing; pace your alcohol intake and remember that there is a whole three years to have fun, you don’t need to exceed your liver’s capacity in the first few days!!

For advice on alcohol consumption, what to do following excessive drinking or a drink being spiked, please go to the following websites:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/30350860/the-science-of-alcohol-how-booze-affects-your-body

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drink-spiking-and-date-rape-drugs/