College will be an exhilarating chapter in your life. While the purpose of it is for you to further your academic studies to make you more employable in today’s job market, the social aspect is most likely at the front of your mind. The newfound independence and fun time with friends are the perks that make college worthwhile. However, independence and fun require responsibility. Stories of tragedies that happen to college students (e.g. alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, being terminated from the university due to social media misconduct, etc.) are on the news on almost a daily basis. You may think that will never be you, but the reality is that can easily be you if you do not follow crucial safety tips.
1. Be Responsible about Drinking and Other Behaviors
While you may have made an oath to your parents and other authority figures at home not to drink alcohol, the reality is that 80 percent of college freshmen drink alcohol. Depending on your social circle and values, you may be a part of the majority that drink alcohol. Binge drinking, which is drinking to get drunk, is also common among college students. Being drunk makes you vulnerable to always being a victim of sexual assault, engaging in unsafe sex, getting into a car accident, starting a fight with someone, or becoming a victim of other accidents and violence. If you plan on drinking, have a sober friend to look after you. Regardless if you are drinking soda or beer, keep your drink on you at all times and do not accept a drink from anyone because you never know if someone snuck in drugs while you were not looking.
Try to say “no” to drugs. While many people can experiment with drugs and move on with their life, you do not know if you have the predisposition to becoming addicted. Addiction is a difficult disease to overcome and ruins many lives.
2. Keep the Doors Locked
When you were at home, your parents were most likely the ones who made sure the doors were locked and other security measures were taken. Living on your own may make locking your doors slip your mind. Even if you live on a safe campus where you trust the people in your residence hall, lock the doors at all times because you never know who can walk in and what his or her reasons are.
3. Call Campus Security if You Feel Uncomfortable at Any Time
Most schools have campus security. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, do not hesitate to call them to investigate the issue or walk you back to your dorm. You are better off overreacting than going against your gut.
4. Trust No One
You can never trust anyone. While a person may seem charming, you cannot automatically consider him or her your best friend and trust them with everything. People can be deceiving and have ulterior motives. Even your best friend from high school cannot be completely trusted because he or she can become a different person in college or loyal to another group of people. The only person you can trust is yourself.
5. Be Smart on Social Media
Be mindful about what you post on social media. Even if you delete, have privacy settings, and send private messages, your privacy can easily be violated by a screenshot or download. Do not post or send anything on social media that can get you in trouble with the university, other students, or future employers. These include, but are not limited to, sexy photos, posts about student or professors, and photos of or posts about drinking and other reckless behavior.