Can you feel it? That glorious warm weather that’s beginning to thaw us from those bitter Manitoba winters? It’s fan-freaking-tastic and I think I can feel my toes again. The best part about warm weather is the longer periods of daylight and the renewed ability to walk everywhere. Right around now is prime time for study breaks at the bar or long walks to clear your head (or avoid your final paper). While you’re enjoying this renewed sense of vitality I’m going to remind you to be aware of your own personal safety and the safety of your friends. It’s just the responsible thing to do and it may save your life: or the life of someone you know.
Okay, now that we’re done being all dramatic let’s get to the point. The sad reality is that the warmer weather can bring out some unwanted safety concerns. You’ve got to be smart about protecting yourself both on and off campus. You need to consider the safety of your possessions and your own physical body. Don’t forget the safety of your health and your emotional well-being! When it comes to school, you should know what services are available for you to access. What supports do they offer? What plans can you make with your friends to make sure everyone remains safe? It might sound silly to make safety plans with your friends when you’re supposed to be a ‘grown up’. It’s not silly. It’s responsible (there’s that word again!).
Safety on Campus
Campus rules were not created to ruin your life or suck out all the fun in living. Trust me! Feeling unsafe is like carrying around a heavy ball in the pit of your stomach all the time. Your school carries that ball for you and gives you awesome safety programs and guidelines in return. Even if you think they’re lame.
Follow the Rules
Have you looked at your student handbook? Do you know if alcohol is allowed on campus? Does your residence have rules about having people over? These are important rules that you should be aware of.
Here you can find the relevant student handbooks or community guidelines for your school. Be sure to read it, get familiar with it. If you have questions, ask someone about it. Your school likely has a security office that you can connect with to get more information.
Use the Safety Programs: Be a Hero
Each school offers something different for safety. Brandon University has emergency telephones that are blue. Canadian Mennonite University is a dry campus (that means no alcohol of any kind, guys!). Red River College has a Safe Walk program that will escort students, staff or visitors from one point on campus to another either inside campus or within a certain range. All of the schools take the safety and well-being of their students seriously. You go there to study, maybe make some friends or possibly change the world. You’ve got to be able to feel that safety so that you can do your best.
General Safety Tips
Have we hammered into your head that safety is important? No? Just read on! While we’re giving you a lot of tools for safety on campus and outlined some options for off campus, we also want to make sure that you have a handy-dandy list of safety tips as well. These will probably sound familiar but we’re going to lay them out here anyway. We even broke them down into different sections because we love organization.
Home/Dorm Safety Tips
- Lock your doors at all times.
- Register your important technology (think tablet or laptop) with their companies in case of theft.
- If you live off campus, consider renters’ insurance. Most banks will give it to you and it’s usually around $30 a month, depending on where you live and such.
- Install smoke detectors, if they aren’t there already. Don’t just turn them off because you routinely burn food. (Side note: take cooking classes).
- Get to know your neighbours. They will look out for you.
Life/Personal Safety Tips
- Do not EVER drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Just don’t.
- Don’t travel alone. There is safety in numbers.
- If you have been drinking or anything else, call a taxi. Or have a designated driver. If you’re walking, have a sober person with you.
- Be social media savvy. People really don’t need to know your exact location on Snapchat.
- Have a plan. Are you going out? Plan how to get home before you leave. Don’t just wing it.
Honestly, we can give you pages and pages of safety tips. We can tell you things you might already know and we can tell you things that are completely new. Pay attention to the information available at your school. Read the safety pamphlet. Know the rules and be aware of how to get in touch with security or your local police department. Welcome to the real world of adulting. You can do this!
About “The Navigator”
“The Navigator” is a monthly blog about student life by the Campus Manitoba Virtual Help Desk. Check back monthly to find more tidbits of wisdom with “The Navigator”. You’ll be sure to find all kinds of information that will help you be successful in your educational journey. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more news and information!