One of the unfortunate truths of attending college is the need to protect yourself while alone on campus. While negative interactions do not happen often, if they do, they can be devastating. Here are some suggestions on how to best avoid negative incidents while in college, or anywhere.
Be Careful with Your Trust
Most of the negative contact will not come from complete strangers in the dark of the night. It is generally perpetrated by people you know, whether they be classmates, co-workers, or even friends of friends. Just because someone is being nice to you does not mean that they do not have ulterior motives. If someone makes you uneasy, trust your gut instinct.
No matter who you are, you should take a self-defense course. This will be of great benefit if you are facing a violent situation. Knowing how to neutralize someone will be one of your best defenses if you find yourself facing an attacker. Self-defense classes will also teach you how to be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t Be Afraid to Report You May Have Had COVID Contact
During these trying times, it is difficult to know which situations are allowed and which are not. As you find you have been forced into an unexpected situation with COVID-19 and may need to talk to someone, reach out to the telehealth services that the campus provides. A therapist can help with any emotional fallout you may be having. A doctor can also go over any symptoms you may be feeling and tell you the best course of action you should take next. Remember, COVID is a global occurrence, so there is no need to feel ashamed that you may have been exposed. The sooner you report it, the better it is for everyone involved.
Don’t Invite Strangers Over
It should go without saying, but avoid inviting anyone whom you do not know to your dorm room. It is also a good idea to keep the door open when you do have company over. This can help to deter any potentially uncomfortable situation. This applies to visitors of any gender.
Watch Your Drink
When you are partying with your friends at the bar, it can be very easy to leave your drink at your table while you use the restroom or if you decide to hit the dance floor. By doing this, you are leaving someone an opportunity to place something in your drink that will leave you vulnerable. You also want to monitor exactly how much alcohol you are drinking because drinking too much can lead to poor decision-making, leaving you even further vulnerable.
Watch the Entrance
When entering or leaving the dormitory, never allow someone entry who you know for sure does not live there. Make sure anyone behind you must open the door using their own key card or other access devices. Also, make sure you do not make your personal information public. Never tell people what building you live in and certainly do not let people know what room is yours in the building. If you see someone trying to force their way into the building, call campus security immediately. Try to take a photo of them with your phone so that there is evidence of who they might be.