College is a time for learning far more than what they teach in a classroom. It is a passage from childhood to adulthood. A transition from having someone take care of you to learning how to take care of yourself.
While college students may always be somebody’s baby, they also have to learn how to successfully handle an occasionally dangerous world on their own.
Here are health and safety tips for young adults that can help you navigate through college and through life.
How to Keep Your Dorm Room Safe
There are two things you want to protect in your dorm room: your valuables when you are away from it and yourself when you are in it. The rise in home security tech has driven prices down and many safety features are available to college students to protect their dorm rooms.
Some important dorm safety elements are alarms that emit a loud sound or alerts the security when a door or window is opened and smart cameras with motion sensors that can tell you if someone enters your room while you are gone.
Most robberies in college are crimes of opportunity. Dorm rooms are rarely the targets of sophisticated thieves, so some simple security precautions can go a long way. A diversion safe looks like an everyday object but is a great place to lock away small valuables when you are away.
For larger items, such as laptops and tablets, taking them with you is best, but hiding them away when you are not there helps to keep them safe.
How to Keep Your Person Safe
Walking across a deserted campus late at night can be dangerous as can leaving your drink alone. While there are several promising tech advancements to help keep your drink safe from being drugged, none of them seem to have quite panned out yet.
For now, you will need to keep guard over your own drink.
However, there is a wide variety of apps and technologies that can help keep you safe in many ways.
Here are a few:
- Circle of 6 is a safety app that can alert your “safety circle” if anything is amiss and allows them to communicate to work out a plan for getting you to safety. Circle of 6 also offers phone links to hotlines for various crises you might encounter.
- Wearables: While your cell phone can provide a lifeline to security, you can also be parted with it. Wearables are a new tech that disguises as jewelry or it’s worn inside of clothing where it can’t be seen. Most wearables are panic buttons that can link to public WiFi that can send an alert even if you don’t have access to your cell phone. Some wearables, such as Safe Shorts can even help keep you safe from sexual assault.
- LifeLine Response: If for any reason you don’t feel safe, you can open the LifeLine response app and place your thumb on the screen. If you remove your thumb from the screen, the phone alerts campus police who gets the user’s GPS coordinates. In addition, an alarm will sound with a voice alert saying that police are on their way.
How to Stay Healthy
While you may not know it, your physical health has a direct impact on your mental health, especially in eating habits. In addition, a clean diet can help you remain more alert and agile, which can allow you to study better and stay awake in class.
Fitness trackers are a great way to remember to engage in a wide range of healthy activities such as standing often, deep breathing, walking and getting enough sleep.
There is a wide range of apps that can improve your eating habits no matter where you dine and what is your budget. Eating healthy can challenge a college student’s budget, particularly if you are on a meal plan with a limited range of options or surrounded by temptation.
Difficult doesn’t mean impossible, however, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you enjoy your college experience just that much more.
How to Deal with Crisis
Whether it’s witnessing a crime, dealing with a medical crisis or reporting an accident, knowing the basics of what to do in a crisis is important.
Here are common steps to take, no matter what kind of crisis you are in.
- Close your eyes, have a deep breath and hold it: When a crisis hits, the body activates its flee, fight or freeze response. Your nervous system will become flooded with adrenaline to prepare you to deal with the crisis. Taking a deep breath and holding it will oxygenate your brain, enabling you to think more clearly and counteract some of the effects of the adrenaline.
- Call for help: Whether you call help on a cell phone or need to literally call out for help, the next most important thing you need to do is alert others to the situation.
- Solve the immediate problem: Almost every crisis is a large series of smaller problems. Find something to do until aid arrives or begin problem-solving a plan if it doesn’t. Staying busy will keep you calm and counteract some of the adrenaline flooding your system.
- Tackle the aftermath: Too often, people think once an initial emergency has passed, it is all over. Sometimes the most difficult part of a situation happens after the original crisis finishes. Handling the outcome can involve getting counseling, giving statements to authorities or dealing with insurance companies.
The college experience should be a positive one and while students need to remain vigilant, they should not have to live in fear.
While apps and tech can help you stay safer, there are also several precautions you should always take as a matter of course.
The buddy system is one of your best bets in a wide variety of situations, as is maintaining healthy practices which can help you stay alert.