The freedom that comes from heading off to university for the first time is both exciting and daunting. If it’s your first time in a new place and you don’t know anyone, you’ve little choice but to go out on your own for the first few days.

But, having a few tips up your sleeve and looking like you ‘own it’ means the fun starts safely straight away:

Around the campus:

  • Get there early and work out where everything is, so that when others arrive, you can sound confident
  • Don’t draw attention to your stuff; flashing a new camera, MacBook or the latest iPhone around leads to theft
  • If you do need to carry valuables, invest in a portable safe. They come in all sizes and can be attached to fixtures in a bar, bathroom or even a library

At home:

  • Don’t ever dress in front of a window and pull your blinds and curtains at night
  • Always lock your room and use a door jammer at night, especially if you live in halls of residence or are sharing a house with strangers
  • Don’t leave valuables lying in communal areas for visitors to see
  • Hide important documents, like bank/credit card statements or identity papers – or preferably, store them in a mini-safe in your room
  • Keep a record of the serial numbers of your valuable possessions like computers, cameras, televisions and mobile phones

When out at night:

  • Wherever possible, walk with someone else and stay in well lit areas
  • Make sure your mobile is fully charged before going out. Never leave it unattended and make sure that you have the campus security number programmed in
  • Always keep a personal alarm or whistle and small torch with you. There are great keyring versions available
  • Tell someone where you are going and make sure they know when you are back
  • Some campuses have bus services at night – find out when they run and try to catch them home
  • Keeping £20 in a keyring stash means you’ll always be able to get a taxi home in an emergency – and you won’t spend it accidentally!
  • Report anyone behaving strangely, especially loitering to site security or the police
  • Listening to music while out walking or running is great, but don’t have it so loud that you can’t hear what’s going on around you
  • Campuses have emergency phones, so get to know where they are

At parties:

  • Alternate water with every alcoholic drink – and remember, nobody will ever know if you put that water in your beer bottle!
  • Having your own keyring bottle opener gives you control over your drinks
  • Never take drinks from strangers or leave them unattended – and tell someone if you start feeling unwell or think it may have been tampered with
  • Always make sure you have verbal and sober consent before engaging in any sexual activity
  • Be wary when taking photos and careful about what happens to them
  • Don’t keep your phone and purse in the same bag if at all possible
  • Try to alternate being the designated driver amongst your group of friends