BY MELISSA BURNS
One’s time at college is supposed to be fun and chock-full of new experiences – for many students it is the first time they get entirely independent, and there is no one to overlook their movements and actions. In addition to that, you may feel a false sense of security due to being surrounded by your peers, people who are just like you.
Unfortunately, human nature is the same everywhere, and a college campus isn’t an exception. The majority of people around you may be genuinely nice guys, but there will always be a few who will look for ways to take advantage of you – and you shouldn’t make their job easier than it could be.
1. Know Your Way Around
The first step to keeping safe when getting into a new environment is studying it. After you move in, spend some time learning the layout of the campus, its most prominent landmarks, ways that connect its different parts and so on. This way you will be able to make more informed and faster decisions if you ever get into trouble.
2. Learn the Locations of Emergency Systems
The majority of campuses have a number of emergency call buttons and phones scattered in different places. If you want to be able to use them in case of emergency, make sure you know where they are beforehand.
3. Consider Using GPS Trackers
These can be used to keep track of either your valuable possessions or yourself. Thus, if your property gets stolen, you will be able to locate it, and if something happens to you, your loved ones will have a better chance of coming to your rescue. Mostly, GPS tracking is used to provide an easy way to look for stolen vehicles, but some models are created for personal use and even have panic buttons, allowing you to send out a signal if you feel you are in danger.
4. Be Careful at Parties
While meeting new people is fine and going, make it your rule never to go parties without at least one friend whom you can trust, and never to stay there after the friend leaves. No matter how nice all the people around you may seem, you don’t know them and cannot trust them.
5. Avoid Overdrinking
It may be harmful to your health in more ways than one. Drinking too much makes you think and act irrationally, you lose control of yourself and your surroundings – which makes it all too easy to get into trouble.
6. Always Keep Track of Your Surroundings
People today are all too used to get lost in their own worlds, separated from the outside by technology: once you plug your headphones in or have your eyes fixed on your phone, you lose all track of what happens around you. Avoid doing so, especially if you are alone in an unfamiliar place – it is all too easy to get into a dangerous situation without even realizing that something goes wrong.
7. Don’t Forget to Lock Up
Life on campus does a lot to make one feel relaxed, but some things should always remain the same. It is never a very bright idea to leave doors unlocked, either when you leave your room or when you stay there. If you want to keep yourself and your possessions safe, make sure always to check your locks.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should spend every minute in college afraid for your life and continually looking over your shoulder – but following these simple tips, you can make the chances of something terrible happening to you that much slimmer.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org