The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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The moment that you leave home for college is a moment you won’t forget. As much as you look forward to learning new things and meeting new people, you might worry about how to stay safe while you have fun. No matter where you plan to attend school, make sure that you know the best ways to ensure a positive and safe college experience.
One of the biggest mistakes that college students make is that they focus on the distractions that are around them. Whether you are on your way to class or a club meeting, always pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your eyes peeled for people who may want to do your harm. If you have a habit of wearing headphones, leave them in your room or apartment. You need to stay focused on getting between those two points without worrying about what might happen along the way. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time on campus at night.
Do you remember using the buddy system as a kid on field trips? Your teacher assigned you a partner and asked that you keep track of each other until the end of the trip. You should use the same system on your college campus. Instead of watching each other all day and night, simply have a buddy spend time with you. The buddy system is great to use if you plan a night of bar hopping or need to stay a little later on the campus. You and your buddy are responsible for watching over each other and making sure that you get home at the end of the night. The buddy system makes hanging out even more fun.
Some college campuses do not require that you live in a dorm room. Many allow students to move away from campus after their first year. If you decide to move away from campus, look for facilities that offer safety features such as UNCC student apartments. Many have a locked front door. You can use your key to unlock this door without worrying about anyone following you inside. Some apartments also have an attendant who asks for your driver’s license or student ID to get inside. Your apartment door will also have a lock. Most student apartments have security cameras and/or patrol units too.
If you live with roommates, you may find it hard to keep your belongings safe. No matter how many times you talk to them, they may still let their friends come and go at all hours of the night. Having a small safe in your room is the best way to keep your valuable items safe. These safes come in different sizes and can fit under your bed or in your closet. You have the option of choosing one with an electronic lock that uses a pin code or a standard safe with a key lock. Some of the newer designs even use biometric scanners to ensure no one gets inside except for you.
The best and easiest way to stay safe in your apartment or dorm room is a locked door. Most colleges warn students when they arrive about letting other people copy or use their keys. These schools change the look every year to keep former residents from getting inside their old rooms. Unless you are home and alert, keep the door locked. Do not leave the door open if you plan on playing a video game or wearing headphones to listen to music as you work. Talk with your roommates about the importance of keeping your door locked too.
As much as you love posting on social media and sharing photos, be careful about what you share. Never share photos that show you out on the town or check-in when you take a trip back home. This lets others know that your residence is empty and may encourage them to try and get inside. You can still have fun posting on social media, but make sure that you do it after you get back.
Using all of these tips will help you have a positive experience at college and stay safe at the same time.