Going away to college represents an incredibly exciting new step in the life of a young person. For many young people, this is the first time they’ve been away from home or had to live independently. All of the emotion that surrounds every aspect of this new life, and especially the excitement are so strong that it is all too easy to forget about basic common sense things.
Among the most important of those “common sense” things is ensuring that you stay safe while you are on the college campus. No matter how safe you think your college campus is, there is always a chance that something can happen, and it is very likely that much of the bad things that do happen are never reported.
Here are some tips to ensure that you stay safe at all times.
*Take a self defense class –
Many colleges and universities will have free self defense classes that are offered by the campus security and police in conjunction with a Rape Crisis Center.
*Never be alone on campus after dark –
You may think that you are perfectly safe on campus because you can’t see anything, but a lot of the rapes and other assaults that happen on campus happen when people are walking around alone.
*Study with a group at the library –
Always study with a group of people if you’re going to be at the library at night. Most college and university libraries don’t have a system whereby you have to show an ID to get admission. That means that anyone can come into the library, and at night when most of the library staff is gone, it’s easy for someone with less than honorable motives to walk right into the library.
*Attend a self defense class –
Self defense classes do much more than teach students self defense. Sometimes these classes boost the self confidence of a student, particularly after a reported incident, and that makes them feel better about walking around on campus alone.
*Avoid dark and isolated places –
There are undoubtedly parts of a campus that aren’t as well lit as other parts of campus. It could be that there are plenty of lights but there are trees and bushes that make the area seem darker than it really is. Parking lots can be isolated and the cars can provide the perfect hiding place for an unscrupulous criminal.
If you have to work late and you’re forced to walk somewhere alone, whether it be to catch a bus or to your car, find out whether there is security personal that can get you to your car or a bus stop safely. If not, ask a coworker or friend to escort you.
*Don’t go to or stay at a party alone –
Off or on campus parties typically have some type of alcohol. They often have a substantial quantity of it, and that means that people are there to get drunk. If you are drinking, make sure that a friend or friends stay with you.
You and your friends should have an agreement so that you never leave one another at a party where there is alcohol. By sticking together, you can protect one another from any potential problem, but you can also ensure that you all make it home safely.
*Don’t invite anyone into your home or room –
There are many ways by which someone can be in danger. Their home or dorm room is no exception. If you don’t know a person well, or if you’re not sure how they will behave under the influence of too much alcohol, don’t allow them to come into your home or room – unless there are other people around who will see what’s going on.
*Don’t let people know where you live –
Unless you know a person very well, or someone else can vouch for them, don’t give out your address. If you are going to date a person, arrange to meet at a very public place and make sure that you have some sort of back up transportation home, just in case you need it.
*Find out where campus emergency stations are –
Some campuses have special emergency stations. These stations are easily identifiable because of the bright lights that hover on top of the station. There is a kind of intercom system that allows you to communicate with the campus police or campus security. If you find yourself in trouble while on campus at night, whether you are alone or with others, you can always use one of these stations. The campus police will know exactly where you are.
*Report incidents to the proper authorities –
If you are the victim of any kind of violence, attack or improper contact, report the incident to the proper authorities. This information is very important to campus security so that they can gauge the need for additional security and so that they know where to put extra security personnel.
If you are sexually assaulted, contact the police and the campus security and go to the hospital. Rape is never the fault of the victim, and by going to the hospital, you allow medical professionals to examine you and get potential evidence that can lead to the arrest and further criminal charges. Don’t feel embarrassed about reporting things because you may be preventing the very thing that happened to you from happening to another student.
The real trick to staying safe when you are at college is to use common sense. Don’t stay out alone at night. If you have to be out studying or for class, make sure that you are with a group of students and that you can have security walk you to your car.
If there are particularly isolated parts of the campus where the potential for crime is highest, avoid those unless a lot of people are around. Don’t allow yourself to be caught alone with anyone you don’t know, especially if you’ve been drinking. If you ever feel doubtful or uncertain about anything, trust your instincts.
College is supposed to be a fun, exciting and wonderful time of your life. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the newness and excitement and that makes it easy to forget about important and basic things such as ensuring your safety and that of your friends.