It’s that time again for many students. And it’s the first time for many more.
Leaving home for university or college is a big step for students and their parents alike. By keeping a few security tips in mind, it can also be a safe step.
For students, there are plenty of ways to be safe without having to think about security all the time. And what student has the time for that? Besides, Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. So some common security sense is often enough to allow you to focus on your studies and – yes – on your social life.
Here are a few ways to look at on-campus security and some quick tips to keep in mind.
First and foremost, make sure you’re safe in walking around campus, especially at night. And have at least some cash (and your address written down) on you at all times when you go out with friends in case of an emergency.
For women, avoid dark and poorly lit areas. And be able to call your school’s on-campus security forceat any time you feel you’re in danger. Make their number a favourite on your smart phone. Campus security operate 24/7 and provide a range of very useful services for students. Drop by their office or check out their website to familiarize yourself with what they can do for you.
Plus, with phone theft on the rise in Canada, keep your smart phone itself safe. These are hot commodities for some criminals.
Facebook and Twitter are great, right? Yes they are. But be aware of what personal information you’re posting on these sites as you never know who’s watching (and we don’t mean your parents).
Plus, with a rise in identity theft you’ll want to use robust alpha-numeric passwords that aren’t obviously connected to you. The Canadian Bankers Association has some useful information on protecting yourself against fraud.
As for your various PIN numbers, all the same rules about protecting these when on campus – perhaps even more so given the crowds you’re likely to be in when buying books, food, clothes and other school necessities.
In other words, don’t share your PINs with anyone – even a trusted roommate. Keep them in mind without carrying them around in your wallet.
As well, free Wifi with your coffee is fabulous. But be careful about what you’re doing – and where – in any online activity in busy coffee shops, for example. And back up all files saved to the cloud. You don’t want to lose that term paper the day before it’s due.
Students living in residence will have to learn the appropriate access control protocols (if they exist) to help keep watch on who comes in and out. Plus, always let residence management know if you see any security problems, such as doors and windows that don’t close properly and lights that have burnt out.
Students living in rented accommodations – shared houses and apartments – also need to think smart about security, even if your landlord drops by frequently.
For example, make sure windows and doors are secure. And check that appliances are clean and running properly. You can prepare all the Kraft Dinner and tuna you want – just make sure to wipe the stovetop clean to avoid nasty oil fires from flaring up.
Lastly, avoid having your house/apartment become the regular meeting place for loud parties. Sure it sounds great. But the security hassles – not to mention the potential replacement costs and fines – are really not worth it.
And besides, your parents won’t take kindly to the police complaints that they’ll hear about. And they will hear out them.
Going to school for another year or for the first time is exciting. And by taking a common sense approach to security it can also be a lot of (safe) fun.