Having a Game Plan to Protect Yourself at College
The transition from high school to college can stir up a mix of emotions in parents and young adults alike. Anxiety over safety issues that come with newfound independence doesn’t have to be one of them. A safe college experience is all about avoiding high-risk situations—using the brain that got you into that institution of higher learning for good common sense! Here are some basic safety tips to remember on campus.
College is often portrayed in movies and media as one big party, a la Animal House. Unfortunately, too often the media’s not far off when it comes to the college social scene. Lots of underage and binge drinking occurs, and although the movies make it seem fun, there can be serious consequences. When alcohol is involved, drink responsibly, and keep in mind these tips to avoid drunk driving:
• If you are throwing the party, appoint someone to collect everyone’s keys at the door. Only give them back to people who leave sober.
• Use SignUpGenius to create a “Safe Rides” system—a monthly schedule with 5-10 “designated driver” volunteers per weekend.
• If you are in a fraternity or sorority, use SignUpGenius.com to create a “Sober Sister/Brother” sign up.
It’s a fact that college life often involves late nights. Despite leaning towards a nocturnal schedule, remember that campus at night requires a greater sense of awareness than during the day. Follow these tips to stay safe on campus after dark:
• Unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, NEVER WALK ALONE. Have a study buddy from your class go with you to and from your study location.
• If you MUST travel alone, try to drive so you don’t have to walk home alone in the dark.
• If you MUST walk alone, walk in well-lit areas, be hyper-aware and have your cell phone charged and at the ready with campus police programmed in your contacts.
• Keep your keys and dorm access card together and ready to get into your dorm quickly upon arrival.
• Know where the Office of Campus Safety and Police is located.
• NEVER stop at the campus ATM after hours.
Though it might stir up some nerves just to talk through issues like these, both parents and students will feel more confident with an agreed upon game plan for staying safe. And remember Mom and Dad, most universities have required safety sessions to attend during orientation. So even if your young person is too busy picking out a comforter set to match her roommate’s when you review this info to catch it all, she’ll hear it again soon.