Whether you’re experiencing that freedom for the first time or think you’re a seasoned pro, these are six ways to feel safe on campus:
Armed and dangerous
The best way to protect yourself on campus is to have some sort of self-defensive weapon. While we can’t have actual weapons, there are great and convenient ways to defend yourself. The most common methods are pepper spray keychains and self defense alarms. A unique and preferred defense accessory is a self-defense cat keyring. It looks like any ordinary keyring, but can be used to attack someone when it's clutched between the fingers. In a worst case scenario, this keyring can be substituted for car or house keys between. No matter what one chooses to bring into battle, having something to arm yourself with is the first step to safety.
No man left behind
The first thing my mom taught me before I went to college is the old army saying, “No man left behind.” It’s usually used in combat, but in college, the saying is used to prevent one. When leaving the party or bar with your friends, never let them or yourself walk home alone. Even when carrying a form of self-defense, it’s necessary to still buddy up to ensure extra safety. Always make sure to have at least one friend to walk home with. If you don’t, keep a friend on FaceTime or use the Ohio Bobcat Safe app to virtually walk home with one. Either way, it ensures that someone knows exactly where you are and that you’re not lost in battle.
Uber (or shuttle) everywhere
If you can’t find a friend to walk you home, or you don’t know where you are, using some sort of ride share app is better than getting lost or potentially worse. OU’s late night campus shuttle will be resuming fall semester. On weekdays between 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. and weekends between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., you can hitch a ride to designated campus spots. For later hours and off campus destinations, Uber and Lyft are the best bet in getting home safely. They may not be free like the shuttle, but you cannot put a price on safety.
Location, location, location
At some point during nights out, one may end up straying off from your group of friends. Whether it be hanging out with a romantic partner or simply getting lost in a crowd, your friends should know where you are in case the worst possible scenario actually happens. Share your location with at least one friend at all times when going out. In this case, the more close friends who have it, the merrier. It may seem simple, but it’s a crucial tip to utilize.
Tuck and cover
It’s scary to think about someone tinkering with your drink at a bar or a party. The sad fact is that it happens all of the time. The best way to prevent this is to pour your own drink when you can, and keep an eye on it the entire night. An interesting alternative to the watchful eye is the Nightcap Spiking Prevention Scrunchie. You can wear it on your wrist for the night and cover it over the top of your drink whenever you need to. It’s a cheap and safe way to give yourself peace of mind, no matter the outing.
Trust your gut
This last tip is the most inexpensive, yet the most important way to stay safe. Throughout any social situation, if you think something is wrong, get out immediately; don’t stick around another second if something doesn’t feel right. No matter what anyone says, your safety outweighs any party or outing.