5 Tips for Staying Safe On Campus
BY AMELIA DERMOTT
College is a whole new world. At home, you grew up around most of the people you knew. You probably lived with your family, and most of the situations you found yourself in were familiar. You’re an adult, but adulthood is changing.
While you’re learning and working your way towards the career of your dreams, you’re going to need to master a lot of other life skills. If living on campus feels drastically different, that’s because it is. You might want to change your approach to many situations you took for granted back home.
- Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Your important documents and personal information were probably safe in your bedroom back home, but they aren’t as safe in your dorm room. Keep important paperwork in a locked box, and make sure all of your devices are password protected. Don’t leave them unattended.
Since you’re also sharing internet at the campus, you might want to consider changing the way you connect to the internet. VPN services encrypt your activity and make it difficult for hackers to intercept your info. You might need to find the right VPN for your Mac computer, or the best VPN for your phone.
- Be Careful on Social Media
Most people have a lax attitude when it comes to what they share on social media. We’re constantly sending out pictures of ourselves, and these pictures don’t always compromise our safety. If you have followers who aren’t your family or friends you’ve known for a long time, you might not want to be sharing information about what campus you live on, or where you go at night. Be selective about what you share, and make sure strangers aren’t able to see your posts. It’s time to update your privacy settings.
- Get to Know Your Classmates
You’ll need to make some new friends in college, especially because many of your friends from back home probably went to different schools. Just don’t get too friendly too quickly. Everyone lives together on campus, and this makes it easy to meet new people. Don’t assume everyone is your friend. Just like in the rest of the world, you’ll encounter people who aren’t always what they seem. Spend some time getting to know people and slowly build trust.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Basics of Self Defense
This is something absolutely everyone should do, regardless of the crime rate in their area or the situations they find themselves in. When you’re out on your own, you need to know how to protect yourself from malicious people. Carry a flashlight, and try to avoid walking around alone at night. When you can’t, make sure you’re equipped with a legal tool you can use to protect yourself. Things like tasers and mace may carry restrictions, so make sure you’re on the right side of the law.
- Keep The Conversation Going
Tell as many trusted people as possible where you’re going, who you’ll be with, and when you anticipate that you’ll be back. Many campuses have safety staff who will be happy to hear your plans, because it’s their job to make sure you’re protected. If you ever see or hear anything suspicious, make sure you tell these safety officers. It’s better to mention something even if it turns out to be nothing than it is to inadvertently turn a blind eye to someone who may need help. After all, wouldn’t you want someone to look out for you in the same way?
Above all else, trust your gut instinct. If you feel iffy about something, don’t put yourself in that situation. Even if you’re slow to immerse yourself in a social group, you’ll know the group you’ve chosen is the right one for you. Never go against your underlying feelings about a situation.