Heading off to college is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming event in the lives of many young people. There is so much to learn while living away from the safe confines of home for the very first time. Learning about staying safe on campus is as important for a student as learning about majors and study abroad opportunities.
Your arrival on campus is usually filled with interesting new things to see and do, new friends to meet, and many practical non-academic factors to consider such as where to buy books, find the dining hall, or catch the campus bus. It is equally important to start out with good personal safety practices that will serve you well.
Don’t travel alone; stay with others on well-lit paths at night; be aware of your surroundings at all times; don’t wear headphones if walking at night; ask for an escort if you must walk home alone from the library late at night.
Know your school’s emergency system and safety resources. Where are the emergency call boxes? The police/ campus security offices? The health center?
Lock your dorm room door at all times! Don’t hold the main door open for strangers, and if you lose your room key, bite the bullet and replace it immediately.
Know your drinking limits and watch your drinks at all times; use cabs or a designated driver and always use safe dating practices. Go with friends and take care of each other.
Get to know your new home away from home. Know areas you should avoid.
Memorize a few helpful and important phone numbers; keep some cash on you;
know where the police station is located.
Know where to go if you need help. After checking the local laws, consider purchasing some personal safety aids such as pepper spray or a whistle. Take a self-defense course.
Use technology. There are many Apps to check out: bSafe, Circle of 6 U, OnWatch, React Mobile and Watch Over Me.
Consider disabling your location on social media sites. Your friends and family know where you are, but unwanted strangers can simply remain in the dark.
Above all, use common sense, trust your instincts, listen to that inner voice telling you the right thing to do, and you can and will embrace and safely enjoy your new life on campus.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by The College Advisor, prepared for our clients and their families.