Human beings, much like all other animals on this planet, feel a sense of security in the company of their peers. A college campus breeds such kinds of feelings but it’s not always the case that there is safety in numbers. To ensure you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation (or easily get out of one), here are five essential safety tips for college students.
1) Be aware of what’s around you
A lifetime ago, a four-legged furry animal was undoubtedly man’s best friend. Now that title belongs to laptops, smartphones, headphones, and whatnot which now chain the contemporary generation to a digital leash. No one goes anywhere without a phone these days (the bathroom included!)
It’s important that you come up for air every once in a while from this immersive world of technology lest you fail to pick up the warning signs of a potentially dangerous situation in the making. If you play loud music from dawn till dusk, consider toning it down a little so that the background is audible as well. Also, be sure to keep your phone and headphones away as you walk across campus or when crossing streets. You need to have all your wits with you when navigating an environment filled with other people, cars or obstacles.
2) Check the backseat
If you own a car, make it a habit to check the back seat or under the car before you get in, preferably before you even open the door. Prior to that, give your car a good 360-degree sniff from a distance to see if someone is lurking on the other side.
Moreover, remember to engage your alarm and lock your doors even if you’re just stopping for a quick dash to return a book to the library. All it takes for things to go wrong is the slightest window of opportunity, both literally and figuratively speaking, so always lock up!
3) Have security and safety supplies at the ready
A stun gun can prove a useful tool although it may be legal or illegal to own one depending on specific state laws so it’d be wise to find out first. What’s acceptable across the board and won’t get you in trouble though is some good old pepper spray. In some cases, schools offer whistles among other safety devices.
Such safety supplies should always be with you wherever you go and they should be within reaching distance at all times. Positioned such that you can get out whatever you need in one swift motion as your attacker will surely not be waiting around for you to empty out your bag to get to the pepper spray at the bottom of the pile. You can get a small holster or kit which you attach to a lanyard or a key ring for convenience purposes.
4) Keep a lid on your social media
Physical diaries have been swapped out for social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook with geotagging- i.e. location-embedded posts- becoming a popular concept. However, be careful not to reveal sensitive information that could potentially put you at risk such as disclosing when you’re home alone or where and when you’ll be and at what exact time.
So disable any location services across your profiles and advisably put up privacy settings only permitting friends, family and those known to you to access your personal information. Even then, keep your personal information personal as sometimes the wolf skulks among the sheep.
5) Know where emergency system areas are
It’s usually the case with most campuses that there is a safety system in place, could be phones or call buttons, for use in the event of an emergency. Familiarize with yours so that you’ll be able to easily alert others or call for assistance if the need arises.
In the same breathe, also get to know your way around your campus in its entirety. Take note of streets, landmarks or hidden away places where you can take refuge if something happens. Knowing your landscape will give you the upper hand if it comes down to a foot race.
Last but not least, you should also sign up for a self-dense class. That’ll come in handy when push comes to shove and you have no other way out of a tricky situation. Of course, self-dense should always be your last resort hence the term self-dense. Whenever possible, choose flight over fight.