Aug. 31--College has more tests than the ones in class.
In "Protect Yourself at College: Smart Choices-Safe Results" (Capital Books, $15.95), Thomas M. Kane of Monroeville offers advice on ways college students can ensure their safety on campus. The member of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities often is called on by members of the media and schools to offer his thoughts on those matters.
This book covers topics such as dorm safety, binge drinking, date rape and managing personal finances. It is full of checklists, trying to make the hints easy to handle. Some examples:
--Dorm life: That home away from home provides nearly endless companionship and social possibilities but also can be filled with danger. For instance, when you are moving in, don't leave you goods unprotected. Record all your valuable items. Never give your key to anyone. Don't ignore any kind of fire or safety alarm.
--Campus safety: Although campus life is not as risky as life in an unprotected neighborhood, it has its risks. You should know the phone number of the campus police. Stay aware always, and never use an iPod or MP3 player while walking around at night. Let your roommates or friends know your schedule. If a car stops and asks for directions, stay away from the vehicle and the people in it.
--Going too far: Dates can lead to sex quite innocently. Or with the use of date-rape drugs. Be aware of all the possibilities. Also, be aware of the sense of precedent one consensual moment can create. One in eight college women has been raped, Kane says, and 47 percent of those were on casual or first dates.
--Drinking and drugs: The section on drinking deals much more with alcohol than drugs, because the ease of getting it is so much greater. Fight peer pressure to drink when you'd rather not. Never drink and drive, and make sure you know how you will get home from a party if you expect to drink there. Eat a full meal before you go out, and keep nibbling while you drink.
--Spring break: When planning a spring break, make sure the trip is booked with a reputable travel agent. Know what is included. Make sure the dorm room or apartment is safe and appliances are turned off. Get your car prepared for the trip if driving. Make sure family or friends know your plans, and check in with them regularly to keep them up to date.
--Those finances: Besides student loans, most students have credit cards that are used generally for lifestyle matters more than official educational business. Be careful, though. Those bills add up invisibly. It probably is better to use a debit card tied to a bank account to keep control of the funds. It also is good to establish some sort of budget to make sure the money is going in the right direction.
Bob Karlovits can be reached via e-mail or at 412-320-7852.
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