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Why let good times go bad

Friday 9 September 2011 Making Friends/Settling In

Here are some steps to take to make sure your brilliant nights out don’t end badly.

A good night out with your mates is always something to look forward to and often something to look back on with good memories. But how many times have you woken up the next morning with a pounding headache, sore feet, a pocket full of receipts and feeling embarrassed or regretting something you did the night before?

Even if you go out without meaning to drink too much, it’s easy to get carried away by trying to keep up with everyone else. Have you ever found yourself holding your friend’s hair back as they’re throwing up or getting them home safely, when you’d rather be dancing? After one too many a night can easily go from good to bad and the next thing you know, you’re subjecting the taxi driver to a rendition of ‘I will survive’ between throwing up out the window, or maybe arguing or getting caught up in a fight, making you one of 76,000 people a year injured due to drunken violence. Worse still, you may end up having unprotected sex or place yourself in risky situations that you wouldn’t do normally.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Universities are actually really well geared up to look after their students. Your union will have a welfare officer who will be able to provide you advice on what support is available on a range of different issues including alcohol.
But to be really safe, you should be taking responsibility for yourselves and your mates. The best nights are those that end without incident, sitting around with your flatmates laughing at the evening’s events. So here a few really easy steps to make sure your night goes off without incident

Have something to eat to stay on your feet
Eating before you go out will help you not to get too drunk and end up at home early doors. Check out our recipes for under a fiver for some great cheap eats!
Try to make every third drink a soft one
Drinking plenty of water whilst you’re out will help you not to get too drunk. Aim to make every third drink a soft drink or glass of water. This will keep you hydrated and dancing longer, as well as helping to save some of your pennies!
It’s not a race – remember to pace
Staying within the recommended drinking guidelines of 3-4 units a day for men and 2-3 for women means you should have your wits about you, and be able to spot dangerous situations.
If you do drink too much, you could easily get into trouble. The more drunk you are, the more likely you are to do something risky. Check out Drinkaware’s unit calculator (http://my.drinkaware.co.uk/users/sign_up ) to find out how many units are in your favourite drinks.
Keeping track of what you’re drinking also means you’ll know if your drink’s been spiked. Be careful with your drink  - never leave it unattended or accept a drink from a stranger that you haven’t seen poured. and keep a mental check of how much you’ve consumed. If what you’re experiencing really doesn’t seem like the effects of alcohol, tell a friend straight away.
During your night out
Plan ahead. Do you know how you’re getting home? If you’re getting a taxi, make sure you phone for a licensed cab – your students’ union will have a list of numbers. Make sure your mobile phone is charged and has credit, and keep the money you need to get home separate from the rest so you don’t accidently spend it.
Look out for your mates. You’ll make some great friends at uni so make sure you all keep an eye out for eachother whilst you’re out. If one of your mates looks a little worse for wear, then get them some water and make sure you get them home safely.
Avoid conflict. It’s easy to think worrying about safety while drinking is only for women. But did you know men aged 16-24 are most at risk of violence? Staying within the Government’s daily guidelines will mean you’re more likely to walk away from a sticky situation rather than letting it get the better of you.
Don’t be pressured. You should never allow yourself to be forced into drinking more than you feel comfortable with. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around – you know what’s right for you and ultimately you’ll earn more respect if you stand up for yourself.
You can find out more facts, tips and advice around alcohol at www.drinkaware.co.uk