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Safety is a priority for most colleges, as it should be. Do your part by being aware of your surroundings and not participating in risky behavior. Campus life should be safe and fun.
You can be independent and still be safe
To many students, college equals freedom. It’s a time to become more independent and stretch your wings. Parents are no longer calling the shots. You get to choose your dorm, your classes, and, ultimately, your future. College should be a safe place to practice becoming an adult.
Know your campus security or safety office
Most college campuses have a security unit in place. It could be an entire safety department or a campus-based force. Take the time to find out what security measures are in place to keep you safe and use those resources to your advantage.
With a small amount of effort, you can feel secure knowing you have the tools in place in case of an emergency. Being prepared may even prevent unsafe situations from happening in the first place.
Never walk alone
Remember the buddy system? College is a perfect time to reestablish that old classic. Walking across campus, even in the middle of the day, can be dangerous. Hiding places are everywhere, and offenders are less likely to cause trouble if you’re with a friend or group of people. Walking with a friend will help keep them safe too.
At night this is non-negotiable even if it’s just across campus. Another time to take a friend is using rideshare. It will be safer and cheaper if you split the fare.
Your car, dorm room, apartment, windows, everything. Locking up may seem basic, but it’s worth repeating. You never know who may be around and what their intentions are. You may feel safe, but it’s better to err on the side of caution. Take the time to lock up, and you will be that much safer for it.
Guard your social media presence
It’s safe to say that most people have at least one or two social media accounts. Probably more if you have a campus social profile. While it’s great to share on social media pictures of friends and the fun places you visit, it’s not always a safe thing to do. Posting that information can leave you exposed.
Choose your settings wisely and turn off your location. Be careful about who can see you, “checking in.” Never confirm any private information and never agree to meet someone you don’t know alone or in an unfamiliar place. If you do meet someone unfamiliar, take a friend, and meet in a busy public location.
Know your campus
College campuses can be acres of large parking lots and buildings, dorms, and green spaces. Being familiar with where these things are located gives you an advantage. You will know what areas may be dark at night or be able to spot things that are “out of place.” Knowledge is power.
If it doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t. Follow your instinct. You have an intuitive sense that will help keep you out of dangerous situations if you listen to your gut. If you have a strange feeling about a situation, you should trust that feeling and leave. Keep yourself safe.
Communicate with friends and family
Letting someone know where you’re going and who you’ll be with is not unreasonable. Tell your roommate where you’re going. It seems minor, but if you go missing, there will be a place to start.
Educate yourself on how to be safe at parties. Never let your drink out of your sight. Never accept drinks from other people. Keep your alcohol intake in check. Have fun, but don’t go overboard. The buddy system comes in handy at parties. Having a trusted friend with you will ensure you both get home safe.
A white lie could save your life
Are you in an uncomfortable situation? Do you feel unsafe at the club? Is the person you’re on a date with giving you an uneasy feeling? You have permission to lie to get out of a bad situation. We inherently want to do the right thing and be honest; however, if you need to lie to get yourself or a friend out of a sticky situation, do it. You may have fibbed, but at least you’re safe and out of a bad situation that could have turned dangerous.
Charge your phone
Make sure your phone is charged and handy before you leave your apartment or dorm. Load emergency contacts and numbers like parents and campus security.
Being prepared will make sure you don’t have to be scared. By making a few adjustments to your routine, you can be sure that college will be a fantastic, safe time in your life.