1. Locking doors
This includes dorm doors, residence hall entrances, and your car. Your dorm room is like your own house and you wouldn’t leave the front door to your house open would you? Small and cramped as it is, it still houses all of your prized possessions including your schoolwork and laptop, which are irreplaceable.
The same applies to your residence hall doors. People visit college campuses all the time, while some might be harmless explorers, others might be there for the wrong reasons. Your doors are secure for a reason. If your school is anything like mine this is difficult because everyone is really friendly and goes out of their way to hold doors. In this case, pay attention to who lives in your building so you’re aware when holding the door. If someone looks unfamiliar, don’t pay him or her much attention and close the door. If they are allowed in the building, they’ll find their way in the right way.
Some car lots are far away from where you reside for campus housing or even take classes. Regardless, lock your doors when you leave your car and as soon as you get in your car. That idle time spent changing the radio and adjusting mirrors can be the right opportunity for someone to approach, so it’s best to be safe.
2. Being Responsible
College is definitely a time for fun but with independence comes responsibility. Guard your possessions, travel smart and know the right numbers. Locking doors is crucial but other people on your campus have access to your room including your roommates and other faculty members who work for the school. It’s worth it to hide and store your more expensive belongings like laptops, electronics and jewelry in a lock box. Locking also applies in electronic terms. Password protect everything, someone may steal it but they won’t have access to your personal information.
When traveling, especially at night, travel in groups. If you can’t do that let someone from home or school know where you are and have him or her verify when you return. This makes nights out or leaving work late a little less risky. Most campuses offer campus safety escorts that you can reach out to when you’re feeling unsafe.
Finally, know the numbers to contact Campus Safety or whatever security escort service is available. You should also store numbers for local taxi or shuttle services in case you become stranded somewhere. Finally, most school heath services are not open 24/7. Look for a nursing hotline or urgent care service and store that in the event of an emergency.
3. Get to know your surroundings
Know your campus and know your local towns and neighborhoods. After you become acclimated it should be easy to figure this out and know which areas to avoid. This also involves following your gut instincts about suspicious behavior from those around you.
Utilize ATM’s that are inside of buildings and that need your card to swipe in. Make sure these areas are well lit. Always store your money right after receiving it and do not flash it about in the open. Try to have someone with you in this instance as well.
Although this advice makes college seem intimidating, it’s important to bear all of these things in mind. In all likelihood you will be relatively safe, but taking these measures will only help you. College can be a great time, but with your newly found independence makes you vulnerable. Sexual assault, stealing and loss of possessions are common college horror stories, take these steps to prevent them from happening to you and know the resources in case of an incident.