I started in education late in life. It was kind of a lateral move since my wife and I ran a group home for kids for 11 1/2 years. And although many of the kids we had in our group home are married or have kids of their own, the students that I first taught, have this year started college. It seems like a long way from 2nd and 4th grade, but it goes by fast!
I also have some good friends who have a daughters who have moved away from home into dorms or apartments for the first time ever. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be scary. With all the stuff that I read for Prepper Website, it is very easy to see the world as a crazy and dangerous place for a young woman…or anyone for that matter. But when you’re 18 years old, and away from home for the first time, you don’t always see it that way. Dad and mom can give all the advice they can give, but in the end, they are mom and dad and they are supposed to worry. So their advice might not be taken as serious. Lately, I’ve been thinking about young people that I know who are going away to college this year, and I’ve chosen to write them a letter, hoping they will take some advice from one of their former teachers.
I’m very proud of you! Graduating high school, with all the standardized tests and dumb requirements that really don’t mean anything nowadays is an accomplishment. You’ve shown that you can manage certain responsibilities and now you are moving on to bigger responsibilities and to tackle bigger accomplishments. I know it probably doesn’t seem like it to you, but time has flown by. And it will continue to fly by. Soon, you’ll be tackling BIG challenges that not only effect you for four years, but will impact you for a lifetime: marriage, kids, career, etc.. In fact, all the challenges of college will seem like a cake walk on the other side of graduation. But until then, I want to give you a little advice for your college years. Because, although you are going to have some BIG decisions to make after college, some of the things you do right now can also impact you for the rest of your life. It’s a crazy world out there. I want you to tackle it and come out on the other side feeling successful and knowing that you accomplished everything you set out to do! I’m writing this letter to give you a little bit of practical advice about how you can safely achieve your goals and experience all that college life has to offer.
Become very familiar with your surroundings. Learn your campus like the back of your hand. Know where your classes are located BEFORE the day you have class. If it is a night class, make sure you walk it during the day. Know where the student center is located, the bookstore, the library, the campus police headquarters and where the emergency call boxes are located. Know which areas are lit up well at night and which places to avoid after certain times. Ask older female students about the campus and for advice. This might be scary, but pay attention to big bushes or places where someone could jump out at you. Don’t walk around with your head buried in your cell phone. Keep your eyes up and scan the areas where you are walking. I want you to be safe.
Always, always, always go with someone. Two are better than one and three is even better! Never attempt to walk across campus or go to a meeting or whatever by yourself. If you have a class and don’t know anyone who is taking the class, make friends with someone quick. Ask them if you can walk together to your destination. A little bit of being proactive here will go along way!
Find friends that you can count on. If you go out for the evening, to eat, to a party or to a club, determine that you and your friend will not separate from each other for ANY REASON. Actually, if you are going to a club, it would be better to have a group of friends go who will always partner up, even to go to the restroom. Please be aware of your drink! Evil people will slip drugs in your cup and you will wake up the next morning not remembering anything. This is why having someone else with you, who can help back you up is important.
Make boys work for it. I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about the time and effort you put into a relationship. Make sure you know the opposite sex very well before going out on a date. Have “study dates,” with others there, in the library. Meet up in the student center for lunch. Sit together at a football or basketball game. If they really like you and want to get to know you, they will respect that you want to take it slow. Doing so will allow you to see their real character and what they are “REALLY” after.
Always tell someone what you are doing or where you are going. This is important if someone needs to find you or get a hold of you. Don’t just count on your cell phone. They lose power and can have bad coverage in some spots. It’s always responsible to let someone know where you are and what you’re doing, even if you are going somewhere with friends.
Think about what you would do to protect yourself if you need to. Something simple as a good can of mace is not a bad thing to have in your purse. Get familiar with it and learn how to use it. Get a good can, not a cheap one that will break easily. You can also carry around a specially made whistle to draw attention to yourself.
Stay up to date on news. Many universities have emergency text messages and social media messages regarding emergency news. Be sure that you will receive an alert if there is an emergency campus wide. It’s not a bad idea to hit some news channels online every once in a while so that you know what is going on in the world. This goes for watching the weather too!
Lastly, make plans! I don’t mean never be spontaneous. I mean, know what you need to do or have if certain situations come up. For instance, make sure you have a working flashlight in case the power goes out and you need to get around your dorm in the dark. Make sure you have some food stored in the room and a means to cook it in case something happens to the cafeteria. Know where the nearest hospital is located. Have hard copies of phone numbers and email addresses somewhere safe, not just in your cell phone. Know the fastest way back home in case there is an emergency. And, I know things will be tight financially, but always try to carry $20 with you. It’s important to know what you should do in these scenarios because you might not have time to sit down and get advice or think it through when something comes up.
Again, I’m very proud of you. I know that you are going to grow into a responsible women and I can’t wait to see all your accomplishments. As you move forward on your journey, just remember that keeping in mind the above advice can keep you from a lot of grief later on. Be safe and have a ton of fun. I wish you the best!
This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.
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