The experience of moving out of your parent’s nest and into student housing at your college is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life. Although the college setting is generally a pretty safe environment, the naivety of young adults being away from home for the first time can lead to dangerous situations. The best way to make sure you stay safe while making the most of your college experience is to keep these safety tips in mind:
- Acquaint yourself with campus safety practices. Take note of the location of emergency phones distributed throughout the campus, should you need to access one in an urgent situation. Take safety and evacuation drills seriously. Register your contact information with an campus emergency alert service so that you will be notified in extenuating circumstances.
- Save campus emergency information in your phone. This is important so that in the case of an emergency, you can get the hep you need immediately. Also, if you see any suspicious behavior, having the appropriate contact information on-hand will enable you to report it and help keep your campus a safe environment for all students.
- Participate in student housing programs. Although you might get less space and privacy, at least your first year or two in college, it is beneficial to live in campus student housing rather than a private rental off campus. Campus housing provides a community who can help watch out for you, hold you accountable, and keep up with your whereabouts.
- Utilize the buddy system. Whenever possible, travel in groups. Make connections with peers who will look out for you. Likewise, make it a point to protect your friends from being put in vulnerable situations.
- Make yourself traceable. If it is ever necessary to go somewhere alone, make sure you let a roommate or someone close to you know where you are going and when you’ll return. If a mishap prevents you from returning at the designated time, someone will know to check on you.
- Do not be too forthcoming on social media. While it is important to always let a trusted friend know your whereabouts, you shouldn’t publicize your location on public forums. Predators and criminals can use such information to find a point that you are vulnerable to carry out their ill intentions.
- Watch your drinks. Do not leave your drink unattended at any point during a social event. It is also a good idea to abstain from the group punch bowl; you don’t know if it has been spiked with something dangerous. Ideally, try to stick to drinks that are sealed in cans or bottles.
- Keep your wits about you while partying. Stay away from illegal substances. They can kill you. Having a fun time is not worth putting your bright future and possibly your life in jeopardy.
- Do not accept a ride from a stranger. You should never put yourself in the position that you are in the hands of a person you do not know, but particularly when you are intoxicated. If you feel concerned that you can’t make it home on your own, call a friend or even student housing staff; someone who you trust. Many schools even offer campus shuttle services to protect you from this specific risk.
Do you have a safety tip we neglected to mention? Please leave us a comment with your input below.