The college experience should include safe spaces where students can live, learn and find a sense of community. Though this is usually the case, it’s exceedingly important to remain vigilant and keep your safety in mind at all times. With the new semester starting, we at Door To Dorm want to provide a few tips on how to avoid putting yourself in vulnerable positions:
Look up from your phone
It’s easy to put your earbuds in, stare down at your phone, and zone out, but with so much going on around you (traffic, bikers, skateboarders, etc.) it’s important to remember to look up and be present.
Never walk alone at night
During the day, college campuses are usually teeming with students and faculty, but at night, it empties out quite a bit. If you find yourself studying late on campus, be sure you have a walking buddy when it’s time to walk back to your car or dorm. Many universities offer security escort services for this precise situation, so check with your campus to see if they offer this service.
Utilize campus safety apps
Most colleges and universities can be found on different campus safety apps like CampusSafe. These apps feature a button that immediately notifies your campus police department when pushed. This saves the time of dialing 911 and notifies the police of your location.
There’s a high chance you’ll attend some college parties from time to time, but it’s important that you party responsibly.
First off, don’t attend any party alone. This is because you want someone to know where you are and NOTICE if you suddenly disappear throughout the evening. Also, it’s nice to have a buffer when you meet a bunch of strangers so you don’t feel awkward. The best party partner is someone you know well and trust to have your back.
That said, whether you go with one other person or a small friend group to a party, make sure one of you is the DD (Designated Driver). You can switch off for different parties to make it fair, but there should always be someone sober and alert that can gauge when you need to get out of an unsolicited or bad situation.
Watch your beverage. Whatever beverage you drink (alcoholic for 21+ or non-alcoholic ), make sure you never put your cup down. If you have to put your cup down to go to the bathroom, or somewhere else, make sure you grab a new drink after (that you pour yourself). It’s unfortunate, but people have been known to add things to other people’s drinks that they never wanted or requested. The safest beverage you can drink at a party is one that comes from a can or bottle that is sealed—don’t drink concoctions out of a tub, punch bowl or any variation of a pre-mixed shared source. It’s not safe, and it’s also gross.
Don’t be afraid to leave. When something feels not so right, trust your gut. It’s no big deal to leave if you’re not comfortable. There will be other parties. If your friends are good friends, they’ll understand, support, trust, and leave with you. If they don’t, they’re not good friends, but you should still grab a cab, uber, or call someone you trust to pick you up. Many universities offer free pickup services off-campus for college students. Check with your campus to see if you have this resource and save the number for the pickup service in your phone before you go out.
Carry a self-defense device
Whether it’s pepper spray, a whistle, or a taser—it’s always wise to carry something you can use quickly and efficiently to defend yourself. All three of these devices are compact and easy to transport.
Lock your doors
This may seem obvious, but it’s very easy to become relaxed in your living space (especially if you live on campus). Just remember that no matter how safe you feel in your home, it’s extremely important that you always keep your doors locked—better safe than sorry!
No one wants to live a life full of worry and distrust—relax and enjoy your college experience. Just remember to always have your safety in mind so you don’t end up like this guy: