Going away to college is one of the most exciting events in a young adult’s life. You finally have the freedom that you have been waiting for. You are beyond ready to live on your own and make your own decisions. But, before you get wrapped up in all the excitement, make sure you think before you act. Here are some safety tips to consider as you head off to school:
- Study the campus map before you get to school so you have a general idea of where everything is. Find out what time buildings open and close in case you need help at some point.
- Go to the security office to ask for the campus security/emergency number.
- Use the buddy system – try not to walk anywhere by yourself.
- Share your schedule with your parents and close friends. This way if you’re unable to be reached, your parents or friends can try to contact you to make sure you are okay.
- Stay close to well-lit and high traffic areas. Stay away from tall bushes, dark allies or anywhere someone could hide.
- If you see something or someone suspicious, try to go in a building close by where you can be around people. Then call the police right away to let them know what you witnessed. They will probably ask you where you saw the act or person, what they look like and what happened. Do not get anxious, try to calm down and explain what you saw.
- If you need to get cash from an ATM, try to find one that is inside. Do not count the cash in a public area or at the ATM, this way you will not draw the wrong person’s attention.
In your dorm
- Keep your door locked at all times. When you leave, your stuff will be protected; and when you are there, you will be protected.
- Never give out your key or student ID card to anyone. If they lose it, then any stranger could pick it up.
- If you are on the first or second floor of a building, it is best to lock your windows at night.
- Get to know your neighbors. More than likely they will become your friends and you will have somewhere to go if for some reason you cannot get into your room. It is also helpful if they know your routine; so they too can watching for suspicious activity.
- Do not be reluctant to report anything illegal or threatening activities.
On the weekends
- Always tell at least one person where you are going.
- Stay in groups, especially if you are a girl. Be realistic about your ability to defend yourself. You will probably be more successful staying safe if you are not alone.
- Do not drink from any open containers and kindly decline if someone offers to pour you a drink.
- Do not take any drugs or foreign substances that are offered to you, you can never be sure what it might actually be.
- If you decide to consume alcohol, keep track of how much you drink. Alcohol is most associated with sexual violence so be aware and cautious of the people around you and how much you decide to drink.
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