It’s that time of the year, ladies! The beginning of the fall semester is just around the corner. There’s always a feeling of excitement and adventure for first time college students, as many of you are away from the comfort of home for the first time. While college is a time to enjoy newfound freedom and independence, it’s important to keep yourself safe, while simultaneously having fun. In these 10 tips, you’ll find ways on how to stay safe on campus.
1. Secure Your Dorms
First thing always, always remember to secure your space, whether it be a dorm, car, or apartment, by locking doors and windows at night or when you are going out. Keep your personal valuables in a safe and secure space - you can’t risk getting them stolen. Keep tabs on who has access to your living space by keeping careful track of who has the keys. If you have roomates, tell them to let you know when they give someone a key. Remember, it is important to always be aware of who has access to your living space.
2. Know the Layout of the Campus
By being aware of your surroundings to increase your chances of keeping yourself safe. If your campus hosts orientations, be sure to attend them. It’s a great opportunity to make friends, familiarize yourself to the campus, and know the resident assistant in your dorm. Whether you live in a dorm or off campus, take the initiative to meet potential roommates.
3. Communication is Crucial
It's important for you and your roommates to communicate and look out for one another. Communicate with your roommates about your schedule in case an unexpected situation may arise. In the any case where you must go out at night, travel in groups. Remember, there is strength in numbers. If you live outside of campus, interview potential roommates carefully. If you live in campus dorms and any issues arise between you and any of your roomates, let the resident assistants know so they can implement relocations as necessary.
4. Know Who to Call
In case of an emergency, it is crucial to have contacts in campus security and the phone numbers of people who share the same living space as you. Always have your phone on you. We’ve all been there at one point or another, whether it is asking for a ride or dropping something off, sometimes it’s a lot less stressful if you have someone to help you out. In certain situations, it would be helpful to have an extra hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
If you are ever can’t avoid going to an unfamiliar location or walking somewhere alone, be aware of who and what is around you - whether you are in a busy or vacant area. If you choose to listen to music and use headphones, listen with one ear instead of using having headphones in both ears. Don’t get distracted by friends or phones.
6. Protect Personal Information
Protect your personal information, such as your dorm number, schedule, name, picture, phone number, from strangers. Know who has access to your information, such as your roommates and resident assistants.
7. Be Smart on Social Media
Especially in college, social media is all the rage. However, it's important to be smart when you are using online communication of any means. If you are using apps such as Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, turn off your location when you post. Avoid posting when you are leaving your dorm or apartment. As always, have control about who gets to see your posts on social media. Do not meet anyone you meet online in person. If you must, meet them in a crowded area such as a cafe or park.
8. Stay Sober
College and partying are basically synonymous. You can be smart and have fun. In order to make smart decisions, it's important to stay sober. Know your limits. Remember, don’t do anything because your friends say you should. Just because people say something is cool, it doesn’t mean it is. It’s not fun if you aren’t comfortable. If you choose to drink, avoid leaving your drinks unattended.
9. Learn to Defend Yourself
Knowing how to defend yourself physically can offer you assurance and give you some sense of control. If you have the know how to defend yourself, you're likely to feel brave and safe, especially if you are on your own. Many colleges have self-defence classes for college students. Professional instructors can teach you defence skills, and it is a great way to meet new people.
10. Be Informed
You can prevent instances of crime and assault from happening to you by being more informed about those rates in your campus and city. Many colleges offer statistics and different websites can tell you a lot about the safety of the different locations in the city that you live in. It always helps to do extra research.