Being on a college campus is fun but it’s easy to gain a false sense of security and feeling of safety when surrounded by your peers. After all, they’re just honest students like you, right? Wrong.
It’s important to acknowledge and remember that you don’t always know who you can trust, even when you’re in the college campus bubble.
While the threat of danger may not always be your first assumption, it’s important to be prepared should a situation ever present itself.
Additionally, there are easy ways to prevent yourself from becoming more vulnerable than necessary or putting yourself into potentially harmful situations.
While we certainly hope that these situations won’t arise, it’s always best to be prepared for any given situation, just in case.
Whether you’re going to college for the first time or are returning for another year, it’s important to review and remember top safety tips to ensure you’re taking the right precautions.
The following college safety tips can help you avoid dangerous situations or help you should you find yourself in a risky situation.
1. Don’t allow technology to make you unaware of your surroundings
Everyone with headphones, a smartphone and an MP3 player knows – the minute you’re plugged in, you barely exist anymore! You stare at your phone, zoned out; not knowing what is going on around you. This, in essence, is exactly what you should be avoiding.
When you start to find yourself becoming unaware of what’s going on around you is the time you need to consider turning the music down, putting your phone away and opening your eyes to what’s happening.
The key to getting out of a potentially dangerous situation is to recognize it as such. This is nearly impossible if you aren’t even aware of the situations you’re walking into.
2. Never walk alone at night
Walking around alone and in the dark is basically asking for trouble. Sure, there are times that you need to get from point A to point B which may occur at night, but you should always abide by the buddy system so that, should something happen, you’re not on your own.
3. Utilize locks
While it’s easy to become relaxed in college life, there are some habits that should always remain standard. Locking your doors, especially when you’re alone or asleep, should be one of them.
Aside from allowing yourself to be vulnerable, it’s also much easier for theft to take place if you’re essentially providing easier access to burglars.
4. Carry some emergency cash
It’s good to have some cash on you at all times, just in case. Perhaps your credit card won’t work or your debit card gets lost. You never want to be stuck in a scary situation because you don’t have the necessary funds to get out of it as quickly as possible.
5. Locate the emergency system areas on campus
Most campuses have emergency call buttons or phones scattered throughout campus for students to utilize in the event of an emergency. Find out what your campuses system is and locate the areas in which the systems are placed. Should you ever find yourself in trouble, it will be much easier if you know where you can call for help.
6. Know your way around campus
In addition to paying attention to your surroundings; you should know your surroundings as well.
Take time to become familiar with campus landmarks and streets so that you are able to navigate your way around – or out of an area, should you need to.
7. Never stay at a party when your friend leaves
No, you don’t need to call it an early night just because one of your friends does. But, what you should do is ensure you always have a minimum of one person with you that you know (and know you can trust).
Being alone in a party setting isn’t smart – go home if you’re going to be alone because it is not worth the risk to stay – no matter how nice everyone there seems.
8. Avoid becoming inebriated and losing control
If you’re getting to the point that you don’t have control of yourself or your surroundings, you need to stop and think about the types of situations you’re putting yourself in.
It’s far too easy for others to take advantage of you or a situation if you can’t think or act rationally.
9. Always have emergency contacts on you or in your device
If you have a smartphone, program emergency numbers into it. It’s one of the first spots hospitals check if you’re admitted alone because they are able to bypass your pass code in order to access your contacts.
Additionally, list your important emergency contact numbers and information in your planner, if you carry one. Whatever items you have on a regular basis are good spots to keep emergency information.
10. Consider carrying pepper spray, a whistle or taking a self-defense course
The hope is certainly that you’d never need to make use of these defense mechanisms, however, having them with you can make a life-saving difference in harmful situations you otherwise might not be able to get out of.