By Cara Giaimo
When I was your age…
Well, not all that much was different, really. Sure, there were probably more flip phones and VitaminWater bottles lying around, but the first couple years of college life are generally the same for everyone—figuring out how to survive on your own. Read on for a short guide to making your college years as fun and safe as possible, and also for some overall good advice on living responsibly as an adult.
Living it up
Read the local news. Your campus might feel like an isolated little bubble, but the reality is that you’re living in someone else’s neighborhood. Know something about it!
Never sleep in an unlocked room—even if it isn’t your own.
Keep a record of serial numbers for valuable electronics in case of a theft. It’s also a good idea to install a “find my phone” type app on all devices, so if one goes missing you can use another to track it down.
Take advantage of all safe-rides and shuttle services while you can. You will miss these when you are 30.
Keep the phone numbers of the campus police, your RA and your roommate in your phone. You’ll be glad you did if you get locked out of your building (this will probably happen at least once) or encounter a dangerous situation.
Remember where the emergency phones are on campus (they’re generally illuminated by red or blue lights).
Keep your blinds closed after dark, and don’t change in front of the window.
Don’t blast your headphones while you’re out in the world. Being aware of your surroundings is critical, and that goes double for you joggers and bikers out there.
That being said, don’t be afraid to report anything suspicious you see. A lot of theft, violence and abuse in universities could be avoided if more people spoke up.
Throwing a rager in your dorm hall or house is inevitable, but just be careful about what you leave lying around. Don’t leave anything valuable out in public spaces, and if the party is in your room, consider storing anything really valuable or personal in a friend’s room for the night.
Some things to never leave out (regardless of whether or not you have roommates or guests) are credit card bills, bank statements, medication, or personal info.
Avoid taking open drinks (something you didn’t see someone pour from a bottle) from anyone you don’t know. If you feel weird about addressing it, just ask for a beer.
Make sure you’ve got a friend or a group with you when going to a new place, especially if it’s off-campus.
Be wary of anyone who seems intent on getting you drunk.
Everyone knows you always need a designated driver, but be sure that person knows who they are before you leave.
If you’re comfortable enough to have sex with someone, then you should be comfortable enough to ask. Get explicit and sober consent from your partners.
Drink water while you’re drinking alcohol! It makes for an all-around better drinking experience in every possible way. If you don’t learn this in college, you will at some point in your life.
That’s our shortlist to living smart, what’s yours? Let us know about some of the tricks and tips you learned on your campus that you use to this day, or if we’ve missed anything.