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Politics and Activism


New Environments Can Be Scary, But They Don't Have to Be Unsafe.


For many of the new college freshmen, campus life will be a whole new world. For kids from rural areas like myself, the college campus alone may have a higher population than your hometown did. With this in mind, it's important to know that there are certain precautions that you may want to take to keep yourself safe in this new environment. They may prove unnecessary, but when it comes to your life, it's better to be safe than sorry. While you don't have to live your life in fear, it could be very beneficial to pick up a few of these habits because bad things can happen on even the greatest of college campuses.

1. Important Phone Numbers

One of the first things you should do when you are preparing to move on campus is load the numbers of emergency services into your cellphone. This could include the local police and fire departments, and if your school has its own PD, you'll want to include that as well.

2. Become Familiar With Your Campus

Even if all of your classes will be in one building, it's good to know your way around campus. Many colleges have emergency telephone booths dispersed around the campus, which are very good locations to be familiar with.

3. Avoid Poor Lighting

If you find yourself parking your car or walking on campus at night, try to stick to well-lit areas. If you have a late class or meeting with friends, walk to your cars together.

4. Don't Deaden Your Senses

Something that's pretty hard for our generation to let go of is having our earbuds in everywhere we go. This might not be such a great idea at night, though, as you may not be able to hear someone coming up behind you. It's also important to keep your eyes on your environment when you are in an unfamiliar setting. In other words, put your phone away! Not only does the distraction make you easier to attack, but your phone may be something a mugger would target you for.

5. Consider Purchasing Mace

Pepper spray is such an easy self-defense tool to purchase and carry. It almost doesn't make sense for anyone to not carry it.

6. Tell People Your Plans

You may be moving out of your parents' house, but you should tell someone you trust when you're going somewhere. For example, if you're going out on a date, make sure you tell a few friends where you're going, who you're meeting, and what time you expect to be home. If they don't hear from you after, they know to check to make sure you got home safe.

7. Social Media Check-Ins

If you want to check in somewhere on Facebook or Twitter, try doing so as you're leaving or even after you're already home.

8. Find a Counseling Center

Even if you've never needed counseling before, it is a good idea to know where you can get help if you need it. Many universities offer counseling services on campus for very low prices, if you ever need it!

9. Go Out in Groups

If you go out for a fun night with friends, try to stick with your group of friends pretty close! Not only could this help you avoid becoming a victim of someone else's bad choices, but your friends might keep you from making your own dumb decisions.

10. Never Be Afraid to Call for Help

Unfortunately, underage drinking is a very common occurrence in college. Even more tragically, some students find themselves in a situation where they are afraid of getting help for someone who needs it because they have been drinking and don't want to get caught. Know this, many universities have a policy where a student will not be punished by the same standards if they are in fact reaching out for help. They do this because they don't want students to forgo life-saving assistance in emergency situations, even if they have been breaking the rules.

11. Do Not Trust Alcohol

We've all been preached at to never drink and drive, but it can sometimes be easy to convince yourself you're good to go when you're definitely not. A safe bet is to never get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking. If you plan to drink, take an Uber! Or, make sure you have a friend who will take the responsibility of designated driver seriously. (Or, just don't party with alcohol! It is definitely not a necessary part of a good time!)

12. Know Your Limits, Trust Yourself

If you are in a situation where you just don't feel safe, trust your gut. Don't let anyone pressure you into doing harm to yourself or another person. If you think you need to call the cops, it's probably because you do need to call the cops.

Overall, it's a lot easier to have fun at college if you know how to take care of yourself while doing it. While you may never have to use any of these tips, you may be able to rest easier knowing you have them. Your parents might lose a little less sleep, too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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