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Making the Most of University Life

University is a great place to meet new people, develop new skills and create lifelong memories. Make the most of this time by accessing everything student life has to offer.

Student Unions

All universities have a Students’ Union (SU). They carry out a range of functions for their members including organising social activities, providing support on a range of academic and welfare issues, representing students both individually and collectively; and campaigning on local and national issues – although the relative importance of these functions has differed over time.

Membership: Students are the Students’ Union – every student is automatically a member and without them, the Students’ Union wouldn’t exist. The SU works in the same way as a workplace union – it campaigns for the rights of its members and brings them to the attention of your institution, the National Union of Students (NUS) and even the Government.

Students’ Union Officers: Every SU will have dedicated officers to represent students on a range of issues such as education, welfare, disability, diversity, the environment and more. If you think your institution needs to address something or look against a certain policy, let your SU know. SU Officers can often take time out of their studies to represent others at conferences around the country, and meetings within the wider, local and university community. SU Officers can also undertake specialist training to ensure they accurately represent the issues at the heart of students.

Understanding your Education Rights

Universities will have a code of conduct or ‘student contract’ that all students must agree to and follow. This contract sets the terms of your behaviour and actions while you study at the university. If you are in breach of this contract punishment such as suspension or exclusion may be carried out. The university would have to prove that you have breached this contract with a formal hearing where evidence is discussed. You cannot be suspended or excluded without a formal hearing to discuss the transgressions.

All students are entitled to equal rights, regardless of their protected characteristics. You are protected from discrimination in education, work, clubs and pubs, hospitals and clinics and council services.

Joining societies

Societies are a great way to meet other students who share a common interest or hobby and being part of a society also looks great on your CV.

A society is set up by students, for students and gives you the opportunity to come together with others and practice your interests in a welcoming and fun environment. They can be based around anything from sport, music or gaming to cards or tea and biscuits.

Societies work differently depending on which university you’re studying at, but most will hold society fairs so that you can sign up throughout the year and/or will advertise via the Students’ Union (whether on social media or through a physical hub space).

Staying safe on university nights out

University is a time for growth, learning, and new experiences, including nights out with friends. While enjoying these aspects of university life, it is crucial to prioritise your physical health and personal safety.

Plan Ahead

  • Inform: Let someone you trust know your plans.
  • Preparedness: Charge your phone and save emergency contacts.
  • Transport: Know your way home and keep emergency cash for a taxi.

Know Your Limits

  • Drink Responsibly: Understand your alcohol tolerance and avoid mixing drinks.
  • Hydrate and Eat: Stay hydrated and eat before drinking to reduce hangover effects.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Be Mindful: Avoid isolated areas and keep your belongings secure.
  • Drink Safety: Don’t leave drinks unattended.

Stick Together

  • Group Safety: Arrive and leave as a group, or at least in pairs.
  • Look Out for Friends: Watch each other’s drinks and intervene if someone is in trouble.

Trust Your Instincts

  • Safety First: If something feels wrong, leave the situation and seek help.

Understanding the risks of drug use at university

There are several reasons why people may experiment with drugs at university, but it can have serious consequences for both mental and physical health.

  • Mental Health: Drug use can lead to anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
  • Impaired Judgment: Can result in risky behaviors and accidents.
  • Addiction: Affects functionality and leads to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Physical Health: Damages vital organs and can cause respiratory issues, infections, chronic diseases, and potentially fatal overdoses.

Seeking help

Overall, taking drugs at university can have severe and long-lasting effects on both mental and physical health.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug use.



Last updated: 15th July 2024

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