College is an exciting and liberating time for many young adults. However, it also a very susceptible time to encounter dangerous situations as students are in a new city, with a new schedule and new friends. It does not matter what age, gender or race you are, you are vulnerable to an attack. Students who have a minimum level of self-defense training and situational awareness are more likely to avoid and be success if confronted by someone with ill-intent.
Below are 15 tips that every college student should know before going way to college.
Don’t Focus on Your Phone, Focus on Your Surroundings
Nowadays many people get caught up in their phones or other devices while walking to places or sitting in their car.
If you are completely focused on your device and not your surroundings, it gives others a perfect opportunity to attack you without you ever knowing.
When walking by yourself, never put both headphones in and turn the volume up all the way. If someone comes up behind you, and you have your headphones on full blast, you would never hear them coming.
You do not want to put yourself in this kind of situation. If you do this, you lose the opportunity to be aware of the sounds around you, which in the end, could save your life.
It is so important to focus on the task that you are doing. Focus on who is walking around you, who is looking at you, and what is going on around you in general.
Lock Your Doors and Your Car
If you are living in a dorm, always lock your door to your room. People will start knowing who lives where, and although you think you know everyone and that they are your friends, you never know what someone is capable of.
You do not want to come home to a stranger in your room. If you are living off-campus in an apartment, it is crucial to lock your doors and cars. Especially if you live alone, you do not want to take the chance of someone attacking you in your own house or car.
It seems like common sense and like it may not be a big deal but believe me, it makes a huge difference.
You should also keep your doors lock when you are just at home relaxing. Anyone can just come into the house or apartment you live in if the doors are unlocked.
All doors and windows need to be locked while you are home and not just at night when you are sleeping.
If you want the windows open the second-floor windows or get the guards that only allow the windows to open up enough to get fresh air.
Don’t Constantly Show your Location on Social Media
It is so important to realize that when you show your location on the Snapchat map, or on any social media platform, that basically anyone can get access to your exact location.
This may not seem like a big deal, but many people are looking for people online for bad reasons. If someone can see exactly where you are or know that you are alone, you are putting yourself in a bad situation.
Don’t be afraid to post pictures and show that you are having fun on social media, but do not excessively put your location and constantly share your location on snap chat.
It is also a good idea to share your location with your closest friends so that in any instance of an emergency, they would have immediate access to where you are.
Once again, this may not seem like a big deal, but it could save you or your friends’ lives. Social media can be a bad concept when it comes to bad people locating you, but at the same time, it can be helpful for friends and family to know where you are in case of an emergency.
It is always a good idea to keep pepper spray, mace, pocket knives, or rape whistles with you. Whether you have one on a lanyard, in your purse, or in your backpack. If something serious does happen to you, these protection devices can help stop an attacker.
Honestly, anything can be a weapon. Your heavy book bag, your heavy chemistry book, your umbrella, or even your heels (if you’re a girl). In dire situations, you should try to use anything to defend yourself and get away from the attacker.
If you can run from an attacker to get away then do it. If you think you have to fight because the attacker has grabbed you or you are cornered use everything you have to take down your attacker.
You can see the video above on how to use what is around you to fight off attackers or bullies.
Know How to Access the Emergency Call on Your Phone
If you have a smartphone, put some time into researching how to easily access an emergency call. The I phone, it gives you the option to call 911 after hitting the power button five consecutive times.
Using an android the screen where you enter your pin has a button for an emergency call. You can easily access these quickly in a dire need of help.
Also, in some places, 911 is now allowing text messages if you feel that you cannot call and make noise.
Research these topics for your own cellphones and won areas. These could help save your life in a bad situation.
Don’t Walk Alone
This may seem like common sense, but there is power in numbers. Predators are threatened by people walking in groups. They do not want to risk getting caught. It is so easy to make sure you are not alone, so do not make a stupid mistake that could affect the rest of your life.
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends to walk you places. More than likely, they will be glad too. Do the same for your friends and always make sure that your friends are also getting places safely and not walking alone.
Know Your Way Around Campus and Around your City
Make sure that you start getting to know your surroundings. If your phone dies and you do not have a GPS, you do not want to be lost and alone in the streets at night. Not only should you get to know your way around campus, get to know your way around whatever city you are in.
If you are good with directions, it could save you and your friends’ lives if you get into a situation where you are lost or do not know where you are. Many campuses have apps that show directions all over campus and the city. Get the app and be smart about directions with and without your devices.
Don’t Leave a Party Alone
You or one of your friends should never go to a party alone or leave a party alone. Drinking alone and walking alone drunk puts you in a terrible situation. You never want to be vulnerable, drunk, and alone – especially at night.
Don’t allow your friends to do this. If they refuse to stay home, just go with them. It is better for them to be safe than for you to finish your calculus homework. Don’t ever lose sight of what is most important.
Know Your Friends’ Lifestyles
Make sure that you know who you are surrounding yourself with. You do not want to get involved with people who are constantly putting themselves in bad situations, because more than likely you will end up in them too.
Make sure that you know what kinds of people your friends hang out with too because you are who you surround yourself with. Don’t get peer pressured. Real friends will never make you do anything that you do not want to do.
Learn How to Spot Dangerous Situations
It is time for you to start learning to pay attention to what’s around you. You need to realize that if someone is making you feel uncomfortable or a situation is making you feel uncomfortable, you need to get out of it.
Don’t be afraid to make your friends leave a party or ghost, someone if you feel that you are getting yourself into a bad situation. Your well-being is always what I most important.
When in doubt have your pepper spray ready and just spray it at the aggressor. If someone is walking towards you and you move to another side of the street and they are looking at you the whole time.
You don’t hesitate to raise up the pepper spray in your hand, unlock the trigger and spray them if they are within 10 feet. Then you run. Pepper spray will not kill them just burn their eyes for 2 hours. Don’t feel bad about spraying a potential attacker. Better to be safe than sorry is what I believe.
Stop and Pass Technique
If you feel that someone is following you, check and watch what they do if you change course. Let’s say you move to the sidewalk on the other side of the street and they do the same. That is when you have an issue and you need to react.
Once you know you may be getting stalked you need to find a crowd of people and move to look like you are with them.
See what the follower does if they pass and keep walking you may be OK. If they wait to see what you will do in the group then you have an issue.
You can see if the group will help.
The other thing is to pull out your pepper spray with your finger on the trigger. You must be ready if the group moves on and does not help or you have to move on.
I would call UBER or a friend to pick you up at this point.
Get to a bar, store, or restaurant to wait for the ride. You can also call the police to report a suspicious man following you.
Take a Self-Defense Class
If you feel that you would currently not be capable of defending yourself, do not be afraid to take a self-defense class. The techniques that you learn there could end up saving your life.
You could even get a group of your friends to do it with you, and then you would know that you all have the skills to defend yourselves.
Many universities have campus apps for safety. They may be individual to each school and differ in many ways, but they are always worth researching. Look upon your university website and you may find that your school has a safety app. Also, take advantage of the campus safety rides that your school may have.
Research all of these things at your specific university and use them to your advantage.
Don’t be too Nice to Strangers
Many people get themselves in trouble because they assume they must be nice to everyone. If some stranger asks you to help them, or follow them, you have the right to say no.
Do not get yourself in a bad situation because you couldn’t say no. You do not have to help anyone especially if you feel uncomfortable in a situation.
Men should not ever ask a woman for help. Unless they are dying on the sidewalk or in a bad car accident.
Why would a man ask a woman for help unless they have alternative motives? If you do not know who they are do not help them. Many serial killers use this ploy to prey on nice people.
- Can you help me move furniture into my van, big mistake
- I need help changing a tire, the guy should know how to do this
- I need help with my dog in my apartment can you look at him for me to give your opinion
- Getting rides from a stranger or someone you barely know (this happened to the 3 women in the Cleveland kidnappings)
Don’t Share Your Routine
Not everyone needs to know your everyday routine. Predators who plan attacks will catch on to your everyday routine and attack you when you are most vulnerable.
If someone is asking questions that seem to be getting too involved with your routine, you have the right to lie.
You do not have to tell anyone anything that you don’t want to, and you do not have to share information that you don’t feel comfortable sharing.
Overall, it is important to take care of yourself and know your surroundings. If you are prepared and knowledgeable about self-defense, you can make sure that you and your friends are safe.
Be careful and don’t get yourself in bad situations that could have easily been prevented.