You’ve finally moved out of your childhood home, and you’re getting your first taste of freedom. You can wear whatever you want, go out whenever you want, you can even eat ice cream for breakfast.
In addition to all this newfound freedom, you’re also going to have a lot more responsibility. I’m not talking about keeping a schedule or doing your laundry — although these are important things you need to figure out — I’m actually talking about your personal safety.
You’ve probably had someone telling you what to do your whole life. Reminding you to lock the door when you get home from school, wear your seatbelt, and when you were younger, don’t talk to strangers. But now you’re on your own, you won’t have someone constantly reminding you to stay safe. Now it’s up to you to make the right decisions.
To help keep you safe, we talked to some students at Arizona State University, and they shared their top college safety tips.
Here’s what they had to say
Have you heard the phrase, there is safety in numbers? I live by this! My friends and I always use the buddy system. We don’t go places alone, we always go as a group – especially at night.
If one of us does go somewhere alone (like on a date) we make sure someone always knows where we are.
Always have a little cash on you
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in college, and somehow, I always make it out unscathed. One thing I had to learn the hard way was to always carry cash.
One night I overestimated how far I could drive with the little gas I had left in my tank. On the drive home I realized my tank was below empty, I wasn’t even sure how my car was still moving. Luckily, I made it to a gas station. When I got there, I found out their credit card machine was down and they were only accepting cash.
I then had to sit in a gas station parking lot for over an hour, alone, while waiting for a friend to help me out.
Remember to lock your doors
I’ll never forget the morning I woke up to find a COMPLETE STRANGER sleeping on the futon in my dorm room. I was petrified, I didn’t know what to do. I considered throwing my lamp at them, but what if they attacked me when they woke up?
So, what did I do? I screamed at the top of my lungs while sprinting to the door. I figured other kids would hear me and go into the hall to see what all the commotion was about.
Long story short, it turns out he had partied the night before and accidentally walked into the wrong room. Now, I always make sure to keep the door locked.
Be aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to your surroundings. When walking alone, don’t stare at your phone or put your headphones on. If someone is up to no good, you’ll look like an easy target.
Walk with purpose. When I was younger, my mom told me to always walk with my keys in my hand. If something were to happen, you can always use them to defend yourself.
Don’t leave your drinks unattended
Don’t ever accept open drinks from someone you don’t know, and don’t leave your drink attended. Even if it’s a cup of water or an open can of soda, someone could still slip something into it.
I know we’ve all seen it on TV and in movies, and nobody thinks it’ll happen to them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Charge your phone before you go out
I would say the best piece of advice I can offer is always having your phone charged. One night I went out to dinner with friends, but had to get back to my dorm earlier and decided to walk back solo. It only took us 10 minutes to get there, I thought I remembered the way.
Well, I didn’t. And my phone was dead, so I couldn’t call a friend or map out directions. Nothing is scarier than being lost in a city you’re unfamiliar with.
Luckily, I made it back safely, but the whole situation could have been avoided altogether had I remembered to charge my phone.
I know moving out and being on your own can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. College is about new experiences, making new friends, and having fun!
Just be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when necessary.