How to Stay Safe While You’re Away at College

Most college campuses take great pains to ensure the health and safety of all students. Still, when you assemble a bunch of hormone-fueled teens and young adults and leave them to their own devices with little supervision for the first time in their lives, there’s bound to be an element of poor decision making, which could lead to dangerous situations.

Now that you’re on your own, you need to take responsibility for your well-being and safety, which means understanding the issues that could arise during your time on campus. Here are just a few tips that should help you to stay safe and enjoy a fun and productive college experience.

Steer Clear of Dangerous Situations

The best way to avoid harm is to stay out of harm’s way. In most cases this simply requires you to use common sense. Instead of walking alone across campus at night, call the campus police for an escort (many campuses employ students for just this purpose).

Don’t leave your dorm room door unlocked. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Carry a whistle to call for help should you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Simply being aware that danger exists and taking precautions can go a long way toward ensuring your safety in college.

Employ the Buddy System

Your friends are good for a lot more than loaning you clothes or helping pick out party outfits while studying at USC Online. They can also help to keep you safe during your time in college (and you can return the favor).

Instead of going out on your own to parties or the parking structure, get your friends to go with you, or at least tell them where you’re going and make a pact to check in with one another. Remember when you were a kid and you had to hold hands with a buddy to cross the street? This is the grown-up version of that safety net.

Tend to Your Drink

Whether you’re of age or not, there’s a good chance you’ll end up at a party where drinks are being served eventually. The safest bet is always to avoid alcohol, which can impair your judgment and lead to dangerous situations.

However, even if you’re not imbibing liquor at a party (say you’re the DD or sober friend for the night), you should still police your drinks. Drugs can be added to a soda just as easily as an alcoholic beverage, so take care to open your own drinks and keep them with you at all times.

Carry Pepper Spray

The vast majority of students will never have cause to use pepper spray to stop an attacker. If you find yourself in this situation, though, you’ll certainly be glad you have it. Be aware that pepper spray won’t put someone down, but it should give you ample time to flee and contact the authorities.

Take a Self-Defense Course

Not all threats are overt, but when faced with an attacker in a situation where you can’t easily escape or get help, knowing some basic self-defense could save your life, or at least allow you to get away relatively unharmed.