Staying Healthy & Safe at University

By Issy Goode - 20:06

Doctors, Dentists and Liver Damage

What many don't always consider when making the move to university is who's going to be there when the student life takes its toll, but fear not, in most cases your savours are near by.

The best thing to do when you know where you're going to uni is to find out where the closest doctors and dentists surgeries are. In Keele's case, they're located on campus, buried in the depths of Horwood Halls. During your first week at uni it's a good idea to get registered at your local doctors surgery, as they'll offer you a flu jab that'll 'protect' you from the lovely mixture of world wide germs and the effects of grubby (I'm sure you're all very clean really) students mingling. I say 'protect' because after most people got this jab, they became a quite ill, but it's still worth getting! Even if you don't think you'll ever need to go to the doctors anything could happen, so sign on up. 

The hope is that none of you lovely lot get any illnesses, but it does happen. The best way to try and avoid - or at least limit - unwanted doctors trips is to attempt a healthy lifestyle. Students worldwide are laughing in my face. But it's a good idea to at least try. 

Staying healthy:

During the day time and evenings when you're not on the booze, drink plenty of water. This'll help cleanse your system and help sooth that sore throat you'll undoubtedly contract during freshers week.

Try to get a decent amount of sleep - 8 hours is usually the right amount, both too little and too much sleep will affect your productivity. But then again, you're a student now, and productivity is something we naturally lack. 

Keep up the vitamin C intake. Here's a list of the top ten vitamin C foods. Yep, grose, none of them are pizza or ramen noodles. Alternatively just take vitamin C pills and/or drink lots of orange juice. That should cover ya.

Get some exercise! Whether this means joining a society or signing up to the gym, you need to get a decent amount a week. Personally I'd recommend the brilliant Xercise4Less in Newcastle. Unfortunately, dancing and slut dropping excessively on a night out doesn't give you the boost that exercising sober does. For Keele students, going for a walk around the beautiful campus will be a form of exercise you won't even realise you're doing.

On the note of exercise, join a sports-related society if one takes your fancy. My biggest regret is not joining one - you've got a means of exercise, a great social life, brilliant social events and you get the pride of taking part in Varsity and/or other events and winning something for yourself and your uni!

Watch your sugar in-take (so maybe not too much orange juice). If you want to stay healthy just try and watch what you eat at university. I put on almost a stone during my first year because I ate bacon and egg sandwiches or noodles at 3 in the morning after every night out, I ate A LOT of cheese and drank more alcohol than I think I could ever handle now. It was a hoot, but I wasn't happy about the weight gain a year later. 

Advice to follow when drinking

I could hammer on at you lot about your drinking habits, but I'd be a total hypocrite, so here's just a bit of advice (that I didn't follow enough of the time) - 

  • Eat plenty before you start drinking
  • Know your own personal limits
  • Try not to get to the point of vomiting - though sometimes a tactical chunder helps
  • Don't mix drinks (at least not too excessively)
  • Make sure the pre-drinks get you tipsy/drunk and out the door, not passed out in bed before the night's even underway
  • Never leave your drink unattended
  • Don't be afraid to say no and turn a drink down (though I accept that the temptation is very strong when it's a freebie...)
  • Don't drink strangers drinks - I know it seems a silly thing to say but I've known people to do it, and picking up a drink that someone left behind is as bad as drinking your own drink you left unattended
  • Don't be rude to the bouncers - these men and women in fact consider themselves to be God's of some sort, so be rude to them and your night out will be ruined. Especially if it's at the union because once all your mates are inside, I don't think they'll want to taxi their way to an alternative night out in Newcastle for you! (Not necessarily a drinking rule, but once you're drunk you're gonna want to remember it)
Sexual relations:

Take a moment to reminisce about your sex ed class...
I don't think anyone could argue with me when I say that a lot of activity goes on in the bedrooms of university students - God, it's like having the talk with your parents, I'm so sorry - but I'm just here to remind you that it takes two to tango. One form of contraception is all well and good, but two is better. Many girls are often on the pill - so make sure you take this as it advises, such as similar times of day, it's a pain in the arse, but not as much as a baby at 18.

But boys, you also need to remember to be responsible. Condoms are the best way to protect from STD's - these are often associated with 'skanky' looking people but that isn't the case. Don't go assuming because the person you're getting lucky with is a slammin' hotty they're entirely uninfected. Unless you're in a long term relationship/agreement and know each other's sexual history, it's best to bust a condom out when you experience a sexual encounter. 

Personal safety

Aside from sex, drugs and vitamin C, you also need to make sure you're safe from strangers.

To incoming Keelites: It's a pretty safe campus, so don't get panicked. You have the safety bus and a scheme in which someone will walk you home. Here's few tips to help you keep safe:

  • Stick to well lit areas and avoid alleyways and parks
  • Walk fast, look confident and don't stop to talk to strangers - though usually a stranger around Keele is a friendly drunk student just like yourself, and not always a threat, but sometimes it's best to not take the chance
  • Keep your phone on you and an alarm if possible
  • Don't forget to always watch out for others
  • Don't walk directly behind someone walking alone as you may make them feel uncomfortable and similarly if you're in a group, it can be quite intimidating
  • Don't let your friends walk home alone, even if they insist they'll be fine
When travelling:

  • Never ever ever get in an unlicensed taxi - my best tip where possible is to try and make a note of the number plate, even if it's a licensed cab
  • Avoid empty train carriages and try to stay around plenty of people
  • Park your car in a well lit area if you need to return to it after dark - and obviously, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE
My moment of sounding like a parent is over. 

I hope you all make it through Freshers' Week and University with your flu cured, free of alcohol poisoning and with STD's avoided!

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  1. "it's a pain in the arse, but not as much as a baby at 18" i laughed so hard at this, i don't even know how to take care of myself properly never mind a baby, i can't believe how silly some people are. Your posts make me wish I was heading to uni this year. :(

    1. Aha it's the best way to drum into people about contraception, some students and younger teens are so blooming careless with it! Yeah hats off to teen mum's, I definitely couldn't do it!

      Uni is great but you've got another year to build up your immune system and line your liver haha!


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