As a college student living sort of far from home (alright, more than 2,500 miles away), safety is pretty high up on my list of priorities. It’s not always a fun conversation to have — especially for us girls — but it’s one that needs to be talked about so that we can all keep ourselves a-okay! So, without further ado, here are my tips to help you guys stay safe while away at college…and for the rest of your life!
Don’t travel alone
Your family has probably hammered this into your brain since you were born, but honestly, it’s true. Don’t go anywhere by yourself, if you can avoid it, especially later at night. Sure, it would be absolutely amazing to live in a world where we didn’t have to be worried about getting hurt on the street or on the walk back to our dorms, but it’s a little unrealistic and thinking that way could lead to you getting seriously hurt. So, if you can, be sure to take a friend with you or at the very least, walk in areas that are highly populated rather than slipping solo through dark alleyways!
Tell your friends/family where you’re going
As a spinoff from my first tip, if you do have to go somewhere without someone you trust (even if it’s a job interview or a first date at a public place), be sure to tell at least one or two people where it is you’re going and when you plan on getting back. That way, if something happens or if you don’t come back when you’re supposed to, your friends know the last place to look for you so that they can bring you back to safety! Even if it’s an area you know well (for me, that’s Downtown Manhattan), tell someone the address so they can get a hold of you if something goes south.
Watch your drink
When you go off to college, it’s expected that you may try some new things, be it alcohol or drugs. Aside from the obvious notes to take care of yourself and know your limit, I cannot stress to you enough just how important it is to watch your own drink. Even if you’re not drinking alcohol, regular drinks can be drugged, as well. There have been far too many cases of people being attack victims after having their drink laced, so if you’re at a bar or a party, or even just with someone you don’t know, hold onto your cup/can/bottle from the moment liquid goes inside or the top is popped, because one moment you turn away could be the cause of something fatal.
Be aware of your surroundings
I know, I know, you want to listen to your music on your walk home. But really, it’s not smart to completely tune yourself out to everything around you. What if someone came up behind you and attacked you and you couldn’t hear a thing? People listening to headphones are a huge target for attackers, as they can jump them by surprise. So don’t be a victim, be smart and stay alert. You can rock out to The 20/20 Experience when you get home.
Use school security
If you’re living on campus (or even if you aren’t, in some situations), your school should offer security services to escort you from a school building to another across campus. If it’s late and you’re alone, you can call security and they can walk/drive you from a school building to a dorm or other building on campus. It’s not something that a lot of people take advantage of, but that’s what they’re there for! Besides, it’s a service you’re already paying for with you tuition. You might as well use it!
Get a safety app
I haven’t had to use one of these yet, thank goodness, but I’ve heard amazing things about them — they’re apps for smartphones designed to keep you safe and out of danger! One of the most popular ones is bSafe, which can be used to set up a personal circle of emergency contacts along with an easy way to alert them if you’re in a dangerous situation. When you contact them, you also have the option to record a video of what’s happening and set off a siren. bSafe also has a timer that will trigger your set contacts if you haven’t checked in when you said you would. Plus (one of the best features!) it has a Fake Call setting, to get you out of dangerous meetings or awkward situations! It’s totally free and completely worth the download to keep yourself safe.
Rock the Wolverine style
For those of us who know that tasers are illegal in their state and that they would spray themselves on accident if they carried pepper spray (my parents’ words, not mine), we have to figure out some kind of alternative. My solution is “key fingers”. Essentially, you take your keys and shove them between your fingers so that if you need to, you could use them to attack someone in self defense. It’s not the strongest of weapons, but it’s effective enough to get you out of a sticky situation!
Don’t be afraid to call
This last one sort of goes along with the campus security, but if you’re feeling unsafe, do not try and go through it alone! Make sure you have the numbers for school/campus security, your RA or RA on duty (for after hours), as well as obvious numbers like the police and 911. You deserve to feel safe at all times, and no one should make you feel bad for wanting that.
The number one thing to remember, girls, is that your safety comes first. Do not jeopardise that for one moment, because it could be a moment you seriously regret. College is a time to learn, have fun, and discover new things, so stay smart and keep yourself safe!
Alexa is a lifestyle blogger from New York City (born and raised in California), and she is on her way to getting her BA in English and her MS in Publishing, with the dream of working in a publishing house in the city. She loves her friends and family, YA novels, and staying up until 3am watching Gilmore Girls. You can find her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter!