Graduating Seniors Need to Keep Campus Safety in Mind Before Going to College
For many students, college is the first time they’ll be living on their own without mom and dad watching over them. While it can be exciting to think about a social life not influenced by curfews, check-in phone calls, and helicopter parents, with new freedom comes new responsibility. Though schools go to great lengths to ensure safety on their campuses, students must also be aware that their personal safety is largely their responsibility. With these simple tips, students can stay safe, both on and off campus.
Lock your door when you leave your room. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many students forget or simply choose not to lock their doors when leaving their dorms. Whether you’ll be spending the afternoon in class or are making a quick trip to the bathroom, be sure to lock the doors to your door room, suite, and apartment. No matter how much you trust your roommates/suitemates/hallmates, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Keep up with your keys and ID. On your first day you’ll receive your room key and ID card, perhaps two of the most important items you’ll have to keep up with during the school year. Because both may provide access to areas on campus reserved for students, it’s important that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Invest in an ID case and lanyard, and if you do lose a key or ID get a new one as soon as possible.
Protect your laptop. Your laptop is your lifeline in college: it’s where you’ll write papers, check up on assignments, and keep in touch with family and friends. Do not leave it lying around in the library, out on your desk if you leave your dorm unlocked, or carry it unprotected as you walk to class (the same can be said for other valuable electronics). You may want to invest in insurance and a physical lock should something happen to your computer, and make sure it is password protected.
Never leave your stuff unattended. While everyone in the library may look like they’re innocently poring over their books, you can never be too sure. When taking a study break, leave your stuff with a trusted friend or bring your valuables with you. If losing your seat is a risk, consider leaving something inconsequential or asking someone to save your seat. All things considered, it’s much better to lose a seat than your wallet.
Save important numbers in your cell phone. Though they’re posted all around campus, save important numbers in your cell phone for easy reference should an emergency occur. In the heat of the moment, you probably won’t remember the extension for Campus Safety. Important numbers include Campus Safety, the on-campus ambulance corps, Resident Assistant numbers, and psychological emergency hotline. Even if you don’t think you’ll personally need the numbers, someone else might.
Become familiar with Campus Safety. Most colleges have resources to help students who find themselves in uncomfortable situations. Consider using campus shuttles when traveling and call for a free ride from Campus Safety if you feel unsafe making the trek back to your dorm from the library at 3am. Many campuses have emergency phones that are easily recognizable and connect directly to Campus Safety. Remember to register your email address and cell phone number with the college’s emergency notification system to receive alerts. When visiting a college, ask a tour guide or administrator about their safety policy and procedures for peace of mind.
There is always power in numbers. Whether you are going to the library or heading out for a night on the town, bring friends with you. Regardless of gender, size, or age, it is always safer to walk in groups than individually. Besides, it will make your study session or Friday night much more fun!
Tell a friend where you’re going. If you’re headed out (especially somewhere off campus) tell a roommate or friend where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Remember to call or text this person if plans change. It never hurts to have someone who knows what’s going on and who you can rely on in a pinch.
Whether you’ll be living in a large city or a small college town, it’s important to be alert and stay informed both on and off campus. By following these simple tips, incoming students can make the transition to college that much smoother, maturely taking on new responsibilities and calming their parents.