While we view college as the next big step into adulthood, filled with exciting new ventures of freedom and prospect, it is still imperative college students remain mindful of potential dangers. A better part of your time will be spent within a large community, and much of the time you may find yourself alone, or caught in unfamiliar places at odd hours. Safety should be a top priority throughout your college experience, so here are some safety tips every college student should know.
1. Become Familiar
Becoming familiar with your surroundings is one of the first things every college students strive for during the first couple of weeks on campus. Getting a campus map during Freshman Orientation or from the administration offices, and studying the layout of your college can give you a sense of which areas are relative to your dorm, apartments and classes. Going out and exploring the campus with friends or trusted acquaintances at reasonable hours is one of the best ways to become familiar with your University campus. Becoming a familiar with the city your campus resides in is also crucial. Since situations like grocery shopping will become a regular occurrence it is good to know where certain exits are, which parts of town are safe, and if certain stores are less shady than others.
2. Alert Your Friends
If you are making a late night errand to the Biology building, visiting your banks ATM that may be in a secluded location, or meeting up with your Tinder date, make sure to alert your friends beforehand where you will be headed. Having your friends keep tabs on you does not feel so much like having parents keep tabs on you but having a back-up safety system set personally for you. We cannot always predict potential dangerous so it is important to take preventative measures where we can.
Whether you are getting into a car, your apartment or your dorm always immediately lock the door behind you. Locking the door behind you is a safety tip that becomes habitual and second nature once done enough times consecutively. Be sure to alway lock your car, dorm and apartment when you leave as well. Even if you’re stepping away for a few minutes, a college campus can provide a false sense of trust in strangers to do the right thing when that is not always the case. It is a safety measure that does not take much effort on your part, so alway lock-up, whether you are coming or going.
4. Stay Updated
Utilize and familiarize yourself with updates on crime happening on-campus and off-campus. Many universities and colleges offer on-campus police alerts of crime happening on the premises of the school and it’s surrounding areas. You can usually sign up for email or text alerts if your school offers these services. If you want to take it a step further do Google searches, and read up on articles, of local news publications on any potential dangers and crime happening nearby.
5. Don’t Update
While it may be habit to let your Instagram or Snapchat followers know what you are up to, it is a safety tip to turn off and not reveal your location at certain times and instances. When you are in secluded locations, and possibly alone, even in known safe havens like the university Library, one should take precaution and not reveal their exact location in real-time. Sometimes you can be unaware of who exactly has access to your profile, so to avoid any potential dangers, avoid giving out your location on social media during odd hours.
6. Have Safety Tools
Have your tools handy. Having pepper spray, mace or a whistle on you at all times, especially at times when you are alone, in a secluded location, in an unfamiliar location, or out late at night are essential. These tools can alert possible nearby bystanders or ward off an attacker. Campus safety services are other essential safety tools. Make sure you are aware of phone numbers for the campus escort services and know where all emergency phone stations are located in your vicinity.
7. Self-defense moves
Knowing moves of self-defense can be empowering and build self-confidence and self-reassurance in the feeling that your skills can possibly get you out of a harmful situation if one were to occur. You do not need to master the art of jujitsu to defend yourself, but some self-defense classes by a professional can give you pointers in a few moves that will help you if the need arises.
8. Monitor Your Drinks
I’m sure you have been told many times to be wary of offered drinks at a party. Date rape drugs are very real and very present within society. Although you may trust your fellow peers and acquaintances, you should be cautious in not accepting opens drinks from people you do not know, or people that you barely know. Parties bring about positives energy and can make you rather careless. Be astute in your surroundings and with things you consume.