We all remember our parents yelling “…and be careful!” after us any time we would leave the house when we were younger.
But the older we get, the more we realize being reckless has its repercussions and that there’s a slew of situations that require us to have our wits about us. Not only will you start to be more careful, but you might even start to tell others (roommates, friends, significant others) to be careful, too. Don’t freak out; you’re not turning into your parents. This is just a symptom of growing up and transitioning into “the real world.” It’s actually a super dope place to be if you have a few simple safety strategies up your sleeve.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Being alert and prepared for any situation doesn’t mean you have to be the creepy kid in the back of the room with a belt full of sprays, gels and contraptions, but it does mean using common sense to make smart and safe decisions. Whether you’re on campus or out on the town, it’s important to know who’s around you. This will allow you to know who you can turn to for help and who to avoid, like the creepy kid in the back of the room with a belt full of sprays, gels and contraptions.
CHARGE YOUR PHONE EVERY NIGHT
This might be a no-brainer for those of us who check Instagram and Snapchat right before we go to bed (and right when we wake up), but keeping your phone alive could also mean saving your own life or someone else’s. Our phones are a great way to stay entertained and connected, but they can also help us in emergencies. Make sure you have the campus and local police phone numbers programmed into your phone in case you find yourself in a sticky situation, or witness one going down.
ALWAYS HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY
The same technique used to bail on bad dates can be applied to all areas of your life, whether you’re at home, on campus or elsewhere — always prepare an escape plan. Have a party buddy to call on if you become uncomfortable in social situations, like if you feel threatened by more than that drunk frat guy’s bad breath. It’s also important to know the fastest way to get out of your classrooms or your home in case of an emergency.
ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency.” ICE phone numbers should be clearly marked in your phone, so if a firefighter or police officer needs to call your family, he or she can easily find your emergency contacts in your phone.
INVEST IN AN INEXPENSIVE HOME ALARM
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to cough up several c-notes to feel secure in your house or apartment. There are tons of affordable home security systems on the market, including high-quality cameras and personal security window and door alarms you can install yourself and all kinds of sensors and sirens specifically designed for small homes and apartments. Spend some time searching for home alarms and accessories on Amazon, where you can snag a sense of security for as low as $10.
TRAVEL IN GROUPS
It may sound cliché, but there truly is safety in numbers. We’re not telling you to be attached at the hip with your homies, but when leaving a party or crossing campus at night, it might be smart to hit up a few friends, or at least shoot them a text to let them know where you’re going.