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Tips for College Life: Staying Safe

Whether you’re living in an apartment just down the street from campus or you’re enrolled in a night program and are commuting to class, you should never take your safety for granted.

College Life: How to Stay Safe on Campus

For starters, make sure you know the emergency numbers for campus police, preferably by having them programmed into your phone. Also, make sure you know where campus security stations are located, and their relation to bus routes, parking lots, and any other places you may travel on campus.

When you’re walking to class, heading home, or waiting for a bus, follow these safety tips:

  • Avoid walking by yourself at night.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Avoid short cuts and alleys; stick to main streets or thoroughfares.
  • Don’t wear headphones.
  • Keep your car or house keys out and ready in your hand so you can open your car or apartment door immediately.
  • If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle.

Protecting Your Personal Effects

Chances are that you’re going to be using your school’s computer lab, library, and study areas. Take the following precautions to keep your belongings and identity safe in these highly-utilized areas.

  • Find out if your school has a lap top registration program. Many do. If yours does, register your laptop to deter theft and assist in tracking lost or stolen units.
  • Use up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. VirusScan (for Windows) and Sophos (for Macs) are often available at no cost to university students. Contact your school’s IT Department for more information.
  • Use a different password for each online or computer account you have, and never share passwords.
  • Use a password or PIN to lock portable devices, and never leave them unattended.
  • Lock your screen or log out before you walk away from any publicly accessible computer.

Drinking Responsibly

Whether you agree with it or not, we all know that drinking plays a role on college campuses. Whether you choose to drink or not is up to you. If you do, here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Eat before you go out. If you have a full stomach, it will take the alcohol longer to be absorbed by your system and hit your bloodstream, meaning you’re less likely to become intoxicated. (On an empty stomach, alcohol is absorbed by the stomach lining more quickly and can begin to affect the brain in as little as one minute.)
  • Don’t drink from a straw, as it can cause you to drink much faster than you intend to.
  • Always keep an eye on your drink, and don’t drink something that’s handed to you. This will ensure that no one is able to slip anything into your drink.
  • A drink is considered 1 four-ounce glass of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.25 ounces of hard alcohol. For the average person, your liver can metabolize approximately one drink (in the quantities listed above) per hour. Stay within this limit to avoid becoming intoxicated.
  • If you have too much to drink, don’t drive. Have a sober friend take you home, or call a cab.

What tips would you add for staying safe on campus? Leave them in the comments below!