Make the most of your social life


Feel the noise

Music is central to student life. From clubbing to gigging to playing to critiquing, barely a day should pass during your university career without some sort of musical entertainment. Dance into the small hours, sing your heart out, and impress would-be lovers with your detailed knowledge of some obscure genre or other. Stalwarts may even go so far as to form a student band or write reviews for the student rag.

As for opportunity, here it comes a-knocking. The students’ union will play host to bands great and small, good and bad. Meanwhile, student towns and cities should be on every artists’ tour route – and your NUS Extra card will entitle you to money off if you book through Ticketmaster, so reap the benefits (www.nus.org.uk).

Oh, and just for fun, visit thisdayinmusic.com for all sorts of muso facts and stats.

Have a ball

The freshers’ ball is the glorious finale to the most hedonistic time in the university calendar. Having spent freshers’ week socialising and settling in, the ball is your chance to really cement that reputation as a fun-loving freak. Your uni will give it their all and make the night super special, so it’s only fair that you follow suit. Glam up and enjoy yourself.

Quaff

There’s no point in denying it: students have something of a reputation when it comes to the frivolous and excessive consumption of alcohol. In fact, they are renowned for it. But, as with all things in life, it’s important to exercise some self control, and to remember that all things – particularly all good things – need to be consumed in moderation.

Try alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones and watering down your booze (via shandies, spritzers and the like). Avoid drinking before you go out. All of these things will save your pennies, your health and your dignity.

Now for the facts: the recommended weekly alcohol allowance is 21 units for men and 14 units for women. That’s 10.5 pints or (250ml) glasses of wine for men and seven for women. A week. Which is 1.5 pints or glasses of wine a day for men, and one a day for women. Impressive maths, huh? There is a point to it, apart from proving we paid attention in primary school: it’s probably a lot less than you think.

Be aware of what you’re drinking, and if you hit the bars one night, give yourself a few days off to recover. In spite of stereotypes, you needn’t and should drink every night. And if you’re concerned about yourself or your colleagues, call Alcoholics Anonymous for free, confidential advice on 0845 7697 555.

Enjoy your daytime down time

Every dawg has his or her day. The morning (2pm is morning – right?) after the night before can be painful. And on days that you don’t have lectures to run to or essays to write, it’s important to provide for your cocooning needs. Stock your room with a DVD player and a few good movies. If you’re a games fanatic, consider taking your PS3 to uni with you. Just make sure you’re able to limit your screen time, as you won’t want to look back on your first year and remember nothing but Prince of Persia.

Just make sure your insurance covers any gadgets you have in your room. Protect yourself against theft.

Discover this generation’s classic

What will the students of 2010 be watching? In years gone by, it’s been This Morning, Countdown, Deal or No Deal – even Pingu. Find the daytime TV fad and enjoy it. But check you’re covered by a TV licence before getting your own box. And never skip lectures for trash TV.

Get your milkafrappuccino

Find a local coffee shop and make it yours. Student life can be hectic. It’s good to have a relaxing hideaway to escape to.

Club it

Not like that. Well yes, like that – but also in the joining clubs-and-societies way. At the freshers’ fair, you will discover many opportunities to sign up to the weird and wonderful, from political groups to sports clubs, drama groups, choirs, and some pretty obscure little outfits you may prefer to overlook. All are good fun, great for making |new friends, and will help give your term-time life a little structure. They could also keep you fit.

Snog lots

Make new friends and enjoy their company. Just make sure you do so safely and loyally.

Be fancy

Students love a costume party. Throw yourself into it. Trawl charity shops, buy novelty items, and take photos to record the good times.

Be safe

If you’re having fun with new people, make sure you protect yourself. If you’re having fun on the town, don’t walk home alone – get a cab or stick to groups and well-lit streets. And don’t dabble in the unknown or the illegal. You may come a cropper.

Be silly

Another student pastime: silliness. Scale a wall, dance through the streets, go out with your shoes on the wrong feet, you crazy kids – just do something you won’t do when you’re over 25 and wearing a suit every day.

Go festo-chic

Glastonbury, V, Big Chill… get a group of your new uni mates together and hit the fields next summer. It’ll be the perfect end to a fantastic year.

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