With incoming freshman in a flurry to secure their new dorm supplies and upperclassmen in no hurry to wave summer goodbye, it can be hard to believe that the new school year is fast approaching. But like every other place in America today, it is becoming increasingly important for students to know how to stay safe. Despite colleges’ best efforts, burglaries, excessive drinking, and sexual assault can, unfortunately, be all too common on college campuses. Read on for some tips on how you can keep yourself safe this coming school year.
Familiarize Yourself with Campus Security
Making students feel safe is a fundamental job of campus security. Find out the services that your campus security offers, and do not hesitate to use them when you are in need. It is smart to store their phone number in your phone or on a piece of paper to keep in your bag. Besides stepping in to diffuse potentially dangerous situations, campus security can also often give you a ride back to your dorm if you ever feel unsafe.
Locate Call Boxes
In case of an emergency, it is always essential to know your surroundings. Many colleges have blue call boxes scattered around their campus that can connect you to 911 with one press of a button. Try to locate and remember as many boxes as you can so that you can easily find one when you need it. Alternatively, if you are in an area without a call box nearby, know what buildings you can easily get into to seek temporary shelter or ask people for help.
Always Let Someone Know Where You Are
The “buddy system” is a strong network in college. For the worst-case scenarios when you are not able to use a phone to call for help, make sure that someone you trust is keeping tabs on you. Let a friend or friends know where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, they can check on you or call for help if you do not get back in the time you said. Additionally, there are many apps for your phone that facilitate this system by allowing you to share your location with your friends.
Lock Your Doors
Often students can find themselves in a false sense of security when their dorm room is surrounded by people they know. Even though you may trust your dorm mates, it is still very possible that untrustworthy people can wander into and around your dorm. Always lock your dorm room when you are away and when you are sleeping so that you can protect both your belongings and yourself. Finally, before you leave your dorm building, make sure that the main doors close and lock behind you. That way you are not only protecting yourself from unauthorized visitors, but other dorm mates too.
Be Smart with Alcohol
Alcohol consumption can make even the safest student less aware of their surroundings. It becomes much easier for sexual predators or thieves to take advantage of you when you do not have the clearest mind. If you choose to drink alcohol, be aware of the amount of and strength of what you are drinking. Obviously, your awareness and judgement will decrease with the more you drink and the stronger the alcohol is, potentially leading you into more dangerous situations. Know your limits and respect them. It is also extremely beneficial to have at least one sober, trustworthy friend who can help look out for you.
Walk with Someone at Night
Whether coming back from a night of fun at a party or from a late-night study session at the library, sketchy situations can be around the campus at night. If you feel uncomfortable walking back to your dorm after hours, try to walk with others. You could text some friends to ask if they could meet and walk back with you. Additionally, you could ask to tag along with another group of people who are leaving the same area as you. If all else fails, call campus security and they will typically provide late-night transport back to your dorm.