Safety Tips for Entering the College World

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  • Entering the college world can be both exciting and scary. As a student, you’re responsible for a number of different things that you didn’t really have to consider in elementary and high school. You are personally responsible for getting yourself to class, organizing your time, managing your money and keeping yourself safe.

    That last one can be a bit of a doozy for some people because the induction into college is usually the person’s induction into the real world. It’s the first time they are really out there on their own. And while college is a time to make discoveries and build memories that last a lifetime, you also want to remember the college years for the right reasons.

    Listed below are some safety tips to help you navigate through the college world.

    Establish Friendships and Trust

    The great thing about the freshman experience is that you are all, for the most part, beginning college life on equal footing. You are all new to this experience and many universities have elaborate and comprehensive programs that help you break onto the scene and build friendships and networks.

    Having a friend on campus you can trust is one of the smartest things you can do starting out. They can pick you up from a party that gets a little too crazy, they can walk with you across campus when you’ve put in some real overtime studying at the library and, most importantly, they are people you can confide in if a dangerous situation arises. Think of it like the buddy system, but for adults.

    Get a Feel for the Lay of the Land

    Familiarizing yourself with where the health center and security offices are is something you should cover on Day 1. Even after the orientations, be sure to drop by in person and introduce yourself as an incoming freshman. Not only will they get to know you better, but you’ll gain a better idea of how the places operate. This can help in the event of an emergency where you need to act fast.

    There are also these things called “panic phones” that usually dot most campuses. They are typically yellow metal boxes with keypads or big red buttons that act as communication lines to emergency services.

    Most of the time you’ll find them mounted on the side of major buildings on campus but, sometimes, they’ll be on poles with bright blue lights to help you find them. Knowing where these are and understanding the use can be very helpful.

    Off-Campus Safety

    Did you know that 80% of the crimes committed against students are perpetrated by other students? This statistic isn’t meant to make anyone paranoid of their peers, but it should illustrate the importance of keeping yourself safe throughout your college career.

    The earlier tips are great if you’re living on campus, but what about during your sophomore or later years when you have an apartment of your own?

    In the case of apartment living, the basics like not hiding a spare key under the doormat and remembering to lock your doors are all very important. Another thing that can help give you some peace of mind is a home security system. Most services like are equipped to secure smaller living spaces like apartments and, as long as it’s okay with the landlord, it’s worth considering.

    Parents and Students

    Students, college can be a blast but it’s also the moment when you realize that you, and no one else, are responsible for your own safety. The tips we mentioned earlier help in not only teaching you to identify and avoid dangerous situations, but also teaching you to develop good judgment. There are plenty of resources on this site and others like it if you want to know more. Don’t forget that, if you’re on campus, you can also talk to the RA.

    And parents remember that you don’t need a reason to call up and check on your kids every now and again. Maintaining communication and talking to your kids about these issues will help them better prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

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