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5 things to remember if you’re having a big one over Christmas and New Year

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If you’re planning on letting off some steam over the festive period, follow our tips below to keep you and your mates safe.

1. Plan your journey and stick together

Before you head out, plan how you’re going to get there and home safely. Whether that’s the last bus, hopping in an Uber or walking home with friends. If you’ve got a plan about how to get back, you’re much more likely to stick to it if you’ve had a couple of drinks. Tell your mates how you’ll be getting home so they can help you if you need it. If you’re in Manchester and you’ve run out of money for a taxi home, you can use the Students’ Union Safe Taxi scheme.

It’s important to make sure your phone is fully charged and you might want to think about sharing your live location with your friends on WhatsApp or Snapchat, either individually or in a group chat. This means you’ll be able to find each other if you get separated.

Read our guide for how to stay safe if you’re going out out this festive period.

2. Don’t be a creep

It’s not just a hug. It’s not just a joke. It’s not just a compliment. Don’t be a creep – and call out your friends if they’re not acting OK.

The University of Manchester has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment. Read more about how you can become an active bystander, or what you can do if you have been a victim of harassment, here.

3. Pick up a test kit if you’ll be taking drugs

There are free anonymous drug testing kits available for you to take home from the Advice Centre, on the first floor of the Students’ Union, from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

If you’re planning on taking drugs, pick one up before the SU Closes for Christmas on Friday 23 December. There are kits for ecstasy, ketamine, cocaine, GHB, cannabinoids and benzodiazepines.

Read more about drug safety alerts and other support available for students who take drugs.

4. Lots of people feel low at Christmas

Over Christmas and New Year, it’s easy to feel like everyone around you is having a great time and perhaps you feel the pressure to be having the best time too. But it’s ok if you’re not. In fact, lots of people find the festive period difficult so you won’t be alone if you’re not feeling your best.

Read more about what to do if you feel low over Christmas and check in with your friends to make sure they’re OK.

5. Not everyone is getting on it

If you’re staying in Manchester and hosting a party, having pre-drinks or an afters be mindful that most people living in Fallowfield, Withington and other suburbs of Manchester aren’t students. PhD student, Chris has recently posted about the wonderful advantages of learning to be a good neighbour.

So, especially at this time of year, be kind. Loud music and noise can have a real impact on people’s mental health and their quality of life. Don’t be a grinch this Christmas – think of your neighbours!