Though you should feel safe and at ease on university campus, the truth is that we all have to be vigilant when we’re out and about. Whether you’re in your first year or third year, we’ve put together some tips on staying safe at university.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many of us to stay at home in 2020, there were more than 300,000 reported cases of mobile phone theft last year. Make sure you use a strong password on your phone, add emergency and lost numbers to your device, and have a phone finder app installed (both iOS and Android devices offer such technology built-in, but it must first be activated). Avoid showing off your phone when you’re walking home on your own as it could make you vulnerable, and don’t put your phone in your back pocket!
When you’re on a night out, whether at the students union or elsewhere, it’s a good idea to stay in a group with your pals and course mates. You can look after each other, and you’re less likely to get into trouble if you are in a group. One idea is to set up a WhatsApp group chat for your night out - if anyone goes missing or you decide to head home early, everyone will be in the know and there’ll be no unnecessary panics when it’s time for last orders.
Okay, we’re feeling like party poopers here, but hear us out! One in five university students say they don’t drink, and though nobody’s saying you need to become teetotal, keeping an eye on how many units you drink can ensure you’re able to look after yourself when you’re walking home. Rather than getting wasted, pace yourself and check-in with a friend if you’re worried you’re getting too drunk. Better yet, designate someone from your group to take it easy - they can be in charge should someone need carrying home! Avoid getting carried away with pre-drinks, don’t drink on an empty stomach, and mix in some soft drinks or a glass of water between alcohol to give yourself a breather… it’ll save you some money, too!
Valuables such as your phone, wallet, or purse should be kept out of sight when you’re out on an evening - so take a bag or a backpack with you. Stick to contactless card payments where possible and avoid carrying around large amounts of money - not only does it put you at risk, but it could also encourage you to spend more than you can afford. If you lose your keys on a night out, let your flatmates know as soon as possible and alert your landlord, too.
Make sure you don’t leave anyone behind when you’re out in a group. If one of your pals wants to call it a night and head home early, get them an Uber, call a licensed taxi or go home with them. Don’t go home alone, and don’t walk home alone, either! And as tempting as it may be, don’t accept lifts from strangers. Trust your instincts and be sensible.
Do you have any other student safety tips? Let us know and check back to the blog soon.