Source: Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock.com
Going to college is one of the best experiences of your life and, for many, it’s a thrill to be independent finally and living alone. Having fun is a student’s prerogative, but, to do so safely, you need to take some precautions. From the best way to get home from a party to dorm security, these safety tips for college students cover all the basics.
1. Take a Self-Defense Course
Knowing you have some skills to protect yourself can make you feel more confident and mean the difference between a fright and a disastrous end. Learning a few self-defense moves for women is particularly important, so why not sign up for a class on campus or your local YMCA or recreation center? Go with a few friends for extra support.
2. Stick Together
There’s safety in numbers, so you and your friends should develop a buddy system and look after each other when you go out. Don’t go home alone at night, either walking or in a service like Uber, and don’t let a friend go home alone from a party. Always tell someone where you are going and let them know you’re safe.
Check up on friends; if they go home, call them to make sure they got home safely and, if they’re talking to someone you don’t know at a party, swing by and check they are all right. Looking out for each other is the best way to ensure you all stay safe.
3. Consider Carrying a Self-Defense Tool
Carrying a weapon or self-defense tool, such as pepper spray or a weaponized keychain, can be extremely useful in sticky situations. Before you buy anything, talk to an expert about the best self-defense weapon for you and make sure you know how to use it; if not, it could be used against you. Always check the laws around carrying a weapon in your state.
4. Keep Your Wits About You
These days, most people are connected to their phone, sending messages or listening to music 24/7, but when you’re out and about, especially at night, it’s crucial you stay alert and don’t get distracted by your phone.
Not only does being in your own world mean you won’t spot potential dangers around you, but it also makes you an easy target for criminals. Walk with purpose, making it clear you know where you’re going. Protect your safety by turning down your headphones and keeping your head up.
5. Get Familiar with Your Campus
Knowing your way around campus and the local area is a significant advantage; the last thing you want is to get lost alone, particularly at night. Rather than relying on your phone’s GPS, wander around campus in the daylight with a friend. Soon, you’ll know the place like the back of your hand. You may also be able to obtain a paper campus map from the student center or administration office.
Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com
6. Be Cautious at Parties
Going to parties is part of college life for many students, but a fun night can soon turn sour if you’re not careful. Never drink so much you lose control. If one of your friends does this, always make sure they get home safely.
Don’t accept drinks or food from strangers unless you see them buy it, and always keep an eye on your glass. Many college students experience drink spiking, and it occurs most commonly at house parties.
7. Familiarize Yourself with Your College’s Safety Facilities
Colleges are deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their students. As such, most colleges have numerous facilities to protect students, such as security escorts, safe rides, and emergency call buttons. However, lots of students are unaware these services exist. Find out what security system your college offers and don’t be afraid to use it.
8. Take Precautions in Your Dorm
At college, your dorm becomes your home, and you feel relaxed and safe there. However, taking some smart precautions at home could protect you from some nasty situations. The most basic step to take is always locking your doors and windows, particularly if you live on the ground floor. It’s also a good idea to keep a security box with your valuables locked and hidden away.
Although colleges have strong security, you must be cautious about who you let in the building. Don’t let people in that don’t have a student ID or aren’t accompanied by a student. It’s also worth considering installing an alarm, such as a foot-activated door stop alarm in your dorm room, as many sexual assaults happen in the dorms.
Be Safe, Have Fun
Taking these simple precautions and learning how to protect yourself in uncomfortable situations allows you to have fun and make the most of your college experience. Share these tips with your friends, protect each other, and call each other out on unsafe behavior.
Should I carry pepper spray?
Pepper spray is an extremely useful tool that allows you to protect yourself against attackers. It is currently legal in all 50 states.
Is it safe to take an Uber alone at night?
It’s best to avoid taking an Uber alone at night, though it is usually safer than walking alone. If possible, always go home with a friend.
Is using earphones while walking safe?
Many people wear earphones while walking home alone; however, they can make you unaware of your surroundings, making you a vulnerable target.