Hopefully, your campus community feels safe and like home once you arrive on campus. However, sometimes that sense of community can be deceiving. Whether yours is in the midst of a big city or set back from a college town, there are steps you can take to enhance your personal security while on (and off) campus. Keep these tips in mind this semester to help keep yourself and your friends safe.
Know Who to Call
Your college likely has many, many resources available to keep you safe and healthy. Campus police, peer groups, staff counselors, staff nurses, deans, RA’s… those are just a few of the people on campus there to help you stay safe. Make sure you have all campus and local emergency numbers saved in your phone, as well as the number for any campus-offered rides if ever you need to be picked up.
It’s easy to let your guard down when you’re in your dorm or wandering through your familiar campus, but basic safety precautions should never be ignored. Lock the door to your room, walk with friends at night especially if you are heading through an unsafe area, and always make sure you have a safe, sober ride.
While your personal safety is of the utmost importance, don’t forget about other areas. Social media can leave you vulnerable if you’re oversharing and can lead to ID Theft. Don’t leave your valuables exposed – whether it’s in your unlocked dorm room, at the library while you’re grabbing a coffee or in your car. Check with your parents to see if your stuff is covered by their homeowners insurance. If not, consider renters insurance just in case – a stolen laptop will cost you and renters insurance can help.
Know Yourself and Trust Your Gut
College may be the first time you’re tasting independence. It’s your job to take care of yourself. There’s a lot to keep track of in college life, but make sure you have the essentials in an accessible place. This health checklist from College Parents of America is super helpful.
In addition to having campus numbers and all your own important information, get to know your campus. Large or small, in your first few weeks acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with it’s layout and how to get to key points from most areas on campus. Get to know the safety features of your new dorm or apartment and be sure to always be cautious holding the door for others.
If you choose to party, know your limits and make sure you are with friends you trust. It is easy to meet new people and trust them like an old friend, but it is wise to be cautious, especially as a freshman. If you feel something is off, trust yourself, whether its upon meeting someone or traveling somewhere on campus.
Take Care of Yourself
Often overlooked when discussing safety, but an important step in making sure you are safe is striving to be healthy and happy. Carve out time this school year to devote to de-stressing and staying fit. Regular walks or gym sessions, eating your veggies and taking some time to yourself to relax will help you help you be more alert when you need to be as well as ensure you stay healthy throughout the semester. With illnesses like colds, the flu or mono that can pass quickly through the dorms, being prepared is your best defense. A clear mind will help you make good choices this semester.
We wish you a safe semester. Do you have any safety tips to add?