The Observer Guide to Surviving Freshers’ Week

In our first installment of the University Observer’s guide to surviving nearly anything, Conor O’Nolan lists some of the key health concerns to be wary of during Freshers’ Week

Energy Drinks

Last year Freshers’ Week meant shed-loads of free energy drink shots, and if the sheer amount of Revamp (comes in a glass bottle, tastes like cough syrup) on campus at the moment is anything to go by, this year will be no different. An inordinate amount of caffeine is a key element of college life, never mind just Freshers’ Week.

Revamp itself contains 50.25mg/75ml of caffeine in a bottle, which doesn’t quite equate to a can of some other energy drinks (Red Bull is roughly 80mg/250ml can) but it’s still quite concentrated. Be careful though, as drinking a lot of caffeine over a period of just a few days can result in a dependency on the stimulant. Then if you go too long without ingesting caffeine, you will get withdrawal symptoms, which can range from just being a bit irritable, to headaches or joint pains. And if you consume a great deal of caffeine you could easily build up a tolerance to it, which will mean you’ll have to consume a lot more to get any real effect.


Another Freshers’ Week staple is free condoms, which nearly every society will hand out. The highlight last year was some of the larger societies handing out Bavaria flavoured condoms, an interesting choice to say the least. Make sure to check that any condoms you are planning on using have a reputable quality guarantee – if it doesn’t have a BSI Kitemark (A heart with a squiggle in it) or a CE (not the society), throw it out.

Hangover Prevention Tablets

A number of societies will give these out; the companies who make them seem almost desperate to get rid of them. Why? They don’t work. The ingredients include activated charcoal (in such a low quantity that it’ll most likely have no affect) and vitamins (they might be nice if you were malnourished when you started drinking). If you wake up without a hangover, it probably wont be because of the pills.

Crap Food

Every pizza delivery company in Dublin want to get a slice of the Freshers’ Week action, so you’ll get more pizza than you should probably ever eat, and enough vouchers to paper your bedroom. Students have a reputation for poor eating habits, and this pizza-fest really doesn’t help. A medium-sized Domino’s Pepperoni Passion pizza contains 10.7g of fat per slice, so 85.6g of fat in total, but over half of this fat is saturated fat, and as we all know saturated fat has been linked to heart disease and a growing number of cancers. So try not to start bad habits early!