As I mentioned last week, I am writing about issues that college students deal with when going off to school. I discussed stress last week. Another important issue for students is safety and security. Moving to an unfamiliar city and possibly a much larger community can be overwhelming. In addition to the surroundings being different, often the people are complete strangers. The safety and security of our adult children is extremely important and worth discussing before our student embarks on college life. We can share our experience and wisdom so that they can leave not with fear or anxiety, but with appropriate caution and awareness.
One of the most important tips we can share is the importance of being alert, observant, and aware of one’s surroundings. For example, texting while walking through the streets of an unfamiliar area is probably not a good idea. Keeping your keys in your hand when walking from your dorm or apartment to your car is. Letting someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back when leaving your residence is helpful as well as planning the trip/route in advance. Whether you are walking, running, biking, or even driving, travel areas that are well-lit and not secluded. Of course keep all doors and windows locked and use the peep hole before opening the door. Avoid traveling alone, especially at night and create a buddy system where you look out for each other. Taking a self-defense class can be another way to protect yourself and a gain a greater sense of security. Another critical point is to trust your intuition. Our gut feeling can often provide us with valuable information so be sure to listen.
Lastly, your safety and security can be greatly compromised when you overindulge in alcohol or drugs. Your judgment and decision-making is impaired which increases your risk and vulnerability to danger. If you choose to drink, moderation is the key. Make sure you are out with at least one friend who will watch out for you and visa versa. Be sure to never leave your drink (even if it is non-alcoholic) unattended and drink from tamper-proof bottles, not from punch bowls. Our safety and security is largely dependent on our awareness and trust of our environment and the people in it. Stay safe, stay smart, and stay focused.