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If you’re starting at UCL this year, there's a good chance you could have your first clubbing experience of your life this week. Which is very exciting! Night clubs are truly unique places, and we’re lucky enough to be in one of the best cities in the world for them. However, it always pays to take sensible and relevant precautions in these spaces.

Times are changing and nowadays there’s a few extra things we need to consider whilst going on a night out. I’ve listed a few things to make sure you stay safe, and you don’t lose your belongings!

Here is a comprehensive (yet not exclusive) list of ways to club safely this next year:

1. Take a lateral flow test before you go

This is not a tip exclusive for clubs, but a good idea for any large event you’re planning on attending. Regular lateral flow testing is so important in stopping the spread, particularly in such a densely populated city such as London. Following on from last year, UCL is still providing symptom-free lateral flow tests on campus and of course there is always the option of ordering them online, too. It goes without saying that you should follow the relevant steps if it comes back as positive. Don’t worry, there’ll be other occasions you’ll be able to go out! Some clubs actually require proof of a negative test on entry, so make sure you check event listings for details...

2. Get Vaccinated

We strongly recommend that all students this year get vaccinated. We’re in a privileged position in this country, in that the Covid vaccine is free for everyone. If you for any reason have not had both shots before you come to UCL, you can still have your first, or second dose, in London. There’s more information on vaccinations from UCL here. Knowing that yourself, and those you come in contact within the club is reassuring - yet it has to be said that it does not entirely eliminate any and all risk of transmission.

3. Go with friends

Going to the club on your own can be very tempting, the sense of independence and empowerment it implies is particularly attractive when considering that you’ve just moved to a new city, and for many of you, a new country too. However, there are some people out there looking to take advantage of people alone in clubs. In some cases, individuals who are seen to be alone are directly targeted. If you feel unsafe, go straight to one of the security staff. Venues want to look after their guests, so don't feel shy about asking for help.

Plus, going with a group is more fun! It’s a really great and fast way to get to know your new coursemates/flatmates. Most of the big nights out in the first few weeks will start in one of the bars on campus, so head there first and meet people to go to the club with.

4. Take a bumbag, but not the kitchen sink

Everyone knows someone who knows someone that’s lost something important in a club. When I was working behind the bar, we saw countless wallets/phones/bags be handed in - and it was always worsened by the fact that people would bring so much with them. If your purse has every card that you own, as well as a lot of cash in it, then loosing it makes it that much worse. Be sensible, and only take what you’re actually going to need for the night, and make sure you have it somewhere - like a bumbag - that isn’t easily lost.

5. Make sure you know how you’re getting home

There’s a number of ways to get home at night in London. Ride-hailing apps such as Lyft and Uber allow you the option to book a ride home in advance if you know what time you’ll be leaving the club. In terms of TFL, make sure you know your bus route or what time each tube line closes. Try and travel back home with someone you trust, too.

It goes without saying that the reason any of us go to a nightclub is to have fun! As long as you take the relevant precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy your night and make some amazing memories.

Meg Day, SSESS