Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

From Pre-drinks to Paramedics

For me, the first week of second year certainly did not go the way I expected. The temptation of Freshers Week won me over and by Saturday I had successfully completed 5/5 events, but one more wouldn’t hurt? Right? Wrong. The preconceived idea for every fresher; “Will I even survive freshers?” is often undermined and being a second year I was prepared for the carnage ahead.

Before returning back to the reality of studying 9-5, a night at Freshers Formal in the company of Scouting for Girls, I believed, would be the perfect way to end the week. Having pre drank at our new house before going, everyone was in good spirits. Founders quad looked beautiful and Scouting for Girls definitely didn’t disappoint. The night was still young and since everyone was heading down to Medicine for more drinks and partying, so did we. Being lucky enough to live just minutes away from campus, we decided to go back to our house to change from our heels and to have a few more drinks.

Little did I know that the decision between going back to our house or walking straight to Medicine would dictate the next 3 months of my life. Back at the house, we were all very much intoxicated. A few drinks later and flat shoes replacing our heels, we were about to leave for Medicine before I went upstairs to grab a few things. As I made my way back downstairs, it was evident that the alcohol completely took over and my balance was nonexistent. They do say 13 is an unlucky number and in my case it definitely was. After falling down 13 stairs I was taken to A&E and diagnosed with an unstable C2 spinal fracture to my neck. Spending 6 days in hospital before being discharged, the doctors and nurses frequently told me how lucky I was and that most individuals in my case end up paralysed or with severe neurological impairments for the rest of their lives. On a lighter note, as of today I am 5 weeks into my recovery stage with only a week left of wearing a heavy duty neck brace and returning back to university. I am very fortunate to have sustained recoverable injuries.

Little did I know that the decision between going back to our house or walking straight to Medicine would dictate the next 3 months of my life

I would like to use this opportunity to inform students on the use of alcohol. I’m sure many of you would read this and think “yes but i’m not like her” or “I know how to handle my drink” and I am positive that would be my exact answer months ago. Being someone that would go out up to 3 times a week, my alcohol tolerance was relatively high. I’ve definitely learned that you don’t need litres upon litres of alcohol to enjoy yourself. Particularly at university where students are encompassed by social events, for both new drinkers and frequent drinkers the dangers of alcohol consumption must become more apparent.