Stay fresh for Fresher’s Week

September hails the start of a new academic year, providing a time for a fresh start as you move on from one year to the next or to a new school, college or even university. It can be exciting and daunting all at the same time… meeting new people, catching up with old friends, sharing summer photos, tweets and experiences, apologising for that text you sent that you wish you hadn’t and thinking about the friends who have gone elsewhere.

For those of you heading off to college or university it will be a chance to join in lots of fun activities as part of organised Fresher’s Fair events. Its a fabulous opportunity to meet new friends as well as pick up free pens, USB sticks, pizza and all sorts of weird gadgets (even the odd purple sperm keyring – look out for these) but do take a moment to find out more about the services and people that will be there to support you during your studies.

Amidst the noise and excitement make sure you stay ‘fresh’ through Fresher’s in all parts of your life.

Remember

Making friends with people who make you feel valued, make you laugh and who you trust and feel safe with goes a long way to protecting your mental health.

It’s your decision when, where and with whom you have sex with as long as the other person is freely consenting. It’s also OK to say no to sex.

Sexuality and sexual orientation is all about who you have sexual feelings for. Fancying who you fancy, whoever it is, is perfectly normal and acceptable.

Sex while drunk may seem like a good idea at the time, but can make you take risks you wouldn’t when sober and lead to decisions you may later regret.

Drugs and alcohol can make the contraceptive pill less effective putting you more at risk of an unplanned pregnancy – be prepared and don’t be afraid to say you won’t have sex unless you use a condom – safer is sexier.

Abuse in a relationship is never OK. It can destroy your self-confidence, and make you feel worthless, unsafe, and isolated. If you are feeling scared, intimidated, or controlled by someone THIS IS ABUSE. You don’t have to put up with it and you should report it. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

Getting exercise, fresh air and eating a balanced diet will all help to see you safely through Fresher’s activities and will keep you fresh for the real work ahead of you…

If you are going to university or college for the first time and have not yet had your Meningitis ACWY vaccine you are entitled for the free vaccine up to your 25th birthday (including overseas and mature students).

Contact your education provider’s health stall at Fresher’s Fair or pastoral team for advice.