Stupid Dorm Rules You Really Do Need to Follow

I know, I’ve been there; it’s 8:00 at night and your RA comes knocking on the door because whatever video game battle you’ve got going on with your roommate has gotten a bit heated and God forbid anyone on your floor has ever heard the word “crap” shouted at an above average level. Yes, this is a stupid rule, and I have no qualms with you arguing with your RA about it. Just keep in mind that they probably don’t have a problem with it, they’ve just got some jackass knocking on their door every 20 minutes to complain about it so now they have to do something.

However, there are some rules that no matter how stupid, silly or completely ridiculous they are you really, really do need to follow, for your own safety and the safety of everyone else in your dorm.

1.) No candles. Ugh, I know! How tough is it to blow out a candle, right? Well actually…think about the collective unit of possibly high, drunk or hungover and definitely sleep-deprived college students that make up the dorms. Someone’s bound to miss a candle once in a while, and then combine that with the fact that many students completely ignore fire-drills (maybe if they didn’t run them constantly and always at 2:00 in the morning more people would participate in them), and you’ve got yourself a dangerous situation. Plus, there are now a million other things you could bring that don’t have an open flame (here’s one example), so stop complaining and just follow the no candle rule.

2.) No propping doors open. Personally, this was one of my biggest vices. The act of swiping my student ID badge to get into my dorm every single freakin’ time I left the building was beyond annoying, especially when those ID badges start to wear out halfway through the semester and begin failing to let you in. But you can’t prop the door open, folks. All those creepy people your parents warned you about? Screw the dimly lit campus paths at 3:00 in the morning, if they can get into a dorm of sleeping students they’ll have the time of their life. Not to mention all the potential for stuff getting stolen.

3.) No heavy duty speakers or amps. First of all, why the hell do you need something that can be heard from three miles away? The fact is you don’t, because as soon as it’s loud enough for that guy across the hall to hear (which is not difficult with the seemingly paper thin walls of dormitories) it’s too loud. Everyone wants to escape to some good tunes every now and then but c’mon, wear some headphones. Don’t be a jackass.

And second of all, equipment like that uses up some serious electricity, and these rooms aren’t meant to withstand that kind of demand. You could end up short circuiting something, which if it doesn’t cause a fire or a blackout, it will at least waste up some of the school’s budget having to fix everything. Think you won’t see a bump in your tuition prices next year? You’re wrong. Invest in a pair of good quality headphones instead.

Don’t forget to check out our stores for more dorm safety essentials (www.secureoncampus.com) and dorm room decorations (www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com)!

Your Most Dangerous Thought

College can be a tricky time in a person’s life. It’s as if you are expected to know everything about who you are and what you will become before you even turn 19, and the bet tens of thousands of dollars that you are right. Oh wait, nevermind…that’s exactly what college is. So it’s completely understandable if you’re thinking through a few things.

However, there is a difference between weighing the pros and cons of a situation and having a harmful thought process. The fact is that some of those irrelevant thoughts that enter your mind are actually quite dangerous, and need to be squashed immediately. But there is one thought that is more dangerous than all of those. Can you guess what it is?

“Just this once.”

The phrase “just this once” means you are trying to dodge the consequences of a risky behavior by cutting down on the number of times you perform that behavior. Let’s take a look at some of the situations, shall we?

1.) With drugs and Alcohol. College is a time for experimentation, I’ll admit that. There is definitely a certain amount of drugs and alcohol that are passed around on a frequent basis (depending on the circle of friends you hang out with), but that doesn’t mean you can get stupid. No matter how many times you participate, there are consequences: one positive piss test could mean an expulsion and the loss of your scholarships, suspension for your specific sport if you’re on an athletic team, and let’s not even get into the consequences from your own family. Plus, driving home drunk “just this once” not only endangers you, but anyone else out on the road that you may encounter.

2.) Sexually. Like I mentioned above, college is a time for experimentation, but experimentation shouldn’t mean that safety goes right out the window. Everyone you meet has a different backstory, which means everyone you meet may or may have been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, so use some form of protection every time. Think about it, it only takes one time to get pregnant or be infected with HIV. Do you really want to risk that for a bit of fun one night?

3.) By cheating. College is stressful, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been watching a bit of evening television and then suddenly realized that I have a 16 page paper due the next morning. It happens.

However, that doesn’t mean you can cheat. Borrowing your roommate’s paper may sound like a good idea at the time, but professors are wizening up to this sort of thing. Now they just scan your paper and enter it into a database, so even if your roommate wrote that paper for another class, three semesters ago, it still comes up, and then you’ve got some questions to answer.

So just suck it up and do the work. What do you think an all-nighter is, anyway?

4.) With your safety. Trust me, I’ve been there; it’s 1:30 in the morning and you just have  to get to your dorm room before morning. It’s only a 12 minute walk, so you should be fine, right? No. Don’t do it. Even if you do have the proper safety equipment (some pepper spray, a personal alarm, the iWitness app on your phone), you are still putting yourself at risk. You’d be surprised how many drunk freshmen end up freezing to death while trying to walk home. If you can’t get a ride just call campus security. Many times they’ll just come pick you up, no problem.

And don’t forget to check out our store (www.secureoncampus.com) for more personal safety essentials!

Safety Advice for Transfer Students

Transferring from one school to another can be quite stressful. I know, I’ve been there. Not only are the people different, but everything else is also different. Your housing situation, the classes, which credits transfer, which credits don’t; not to mention you don’t know any of your professors. But with all the change there is also a little comfort in knowing this too: all universities follow the same general guidelines.

You will go to class; you will live with roommates. Textbooks will be expensive and you   will probably have a difficult time finding parking every morning. And yes, you will make friends and survive.

However, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

1.) Have a list of who you need to call. Different schools have different protocols, and if an issue required you to call your RA at your last school, it might require you to call the front desk or even campus security at your new school. Understand who you need to call and for what reasons.

2.) Sign up for classes ASAP. Signing up for classes as soon as possible won’t just ensure you’ll get the best professors (research them at www.ratemyprofessors.com and if one professor’s class is filling up fast while another has only one or two students, it’s a good sign as to who is the more desirable professor), but it will also ensure you a safer class schedule. A class that gets done at 2:00 in the afternoon is generally much safer than a class that gets done at 9:00 at night, especially if the shuttles have stopped running and you have to walk home alone…in the dark.

3.) Do a test run. Get your schedule (make sure you’re actually in the classes you think you are) and walk around campus the day before finding each building and classroom. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around an unfamiliar campus trying to find a class you think you’re registered for. Plus, it’s important that you know the best routes to take to specific classes. If you have a night class, for example, you don’t want to be wandering around campus in the dark. Find a well-lit, often used path and stick to it.

4.) Live on campus. I know, I know, I’ve been preaching that the benefits of living off-campus greatly outweigh those of living on-campus (and I still stand by that opinion), but as far as safety goes, on-campus is the way to go. Everything you need is either within walking distance or even located in the same building. I’ve lived in dorms that have laundry facilities, computer labs, the bookstore and the cafeteria all in the same building. Plus, it’s easier to make friends when you’re surrounded by new people in the same situation, meaning there’s a less of chance of walking alone if you do have to go anywhere. Many universities also have dorm specifically for transfer students, which means if you’re 22 and transferring, you don’t have to worry about living with a bunch of 19 year olds begging you to buy them alcohol.

Don’t forget to check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com for more college safety essentials!

Safety Questions Renters Always Forget to Ask

If you’re looking for a home to rent, chances are you know the general questions. You need to know how much they’re asking for rent, if it’s close to public transportation (but not actually living on top of a subway station), and you’re probably going to inquire about leasing guidelines. However, even after you’ve looked at the place (seen the size of the rooms, etc.), there are a few things you still might overlook. Here are some important questions you’d be sorry not to ask beforehand:

1.) How’s the cell phone signal? Nothing is quite as annoying as trying to carry on a conversation with someone while constantly moving around the house trying to chase a seemingly non-existent signal, even when your cellphone provider boasts supposedly “exceptional” signal strength. You’re going to want to know you can call 9-1-1 from anywhere in your home, including under the kitchen sink…just in case.

2.) How’s that elevator? Don’t be surprised if an apartment eight stories up brags about an elevator and then after you move in you find out it’s only for moving heavy freight. Or maybe it has an elevator, but it’s been out of service for three years. Or maybe it has a working elevator perfectly acceptable for people to use; it just moves at a snail’s pace. You might not think this even qualifies as a safety issue, but the first time you come home on crutches and try to navigate up eight flights of stairs, you’ll think differently about the value of that elevator.

3.) Who handles the maintenance? This includes both interior and exterior maintenance. If you live in a house instead of an apartment, you could be expected to do all of the exterior upkeep (like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow). If you live in an apartment, there may be a few different people that you need to call depending on the circumstances. A doorman may handle your mail, a super may handle basic maintenance issues or emergency issues (you smell gas in your apartment) and your landlord may handles more serious issues with your rental. Make sure you have a list of all the appropriate people you need to call should a problem arise, and don’t forget, if something comes up and you need help now, don’t bother calling your landlord, dial 9-1-1 and explain it later. 

4.) What’s the parking situation? Many places offer a free parking space out front or even in a driveway, but if you’re looking to rent in New York the issues of parking is a whole other ballgame altogether. Parking is not only incredibly expensive, but having a set parking space will save you hours of time trying to find one when you arrive home every night. Plus, having to park half a mile away from your front door puts you at risk! If you can get a place that has a garage or a private parking, do it. It means you can walk from your car to your front door in a safe environment.

And don’t forget to check out our online store (www.secureoncampus.com)  for any necessary safety equipment you may need, like pepper spray, personal alarms or the iWitness Smartphone Service.

Safety Items to Keep in Your Purse/Backpack

Now there are countless safety items that you should take with you to college. Fire extinguishers, for example, are not very expensive and are invaluable in a tight spot, but I doubt you’ll be carrying one around in your backpack all day. The same goes for your laptop safe or even a bunch of padlocks. Even if you think it’s a good idea to lock up your backpack (it is) I guarantee you’re going to choose practicality over safety in the end. And the number of times per hour combined with the exhausting weight of textbooks, you’re not going to carry anything more than you have to.

Besides the following items, that is. They weigh next to nothing and they just might save your life, so read on and stock up.

1.) Pepper spray. What, you’re a big strong man that doesn’t believe in carrying pepper spray? You’re an independent woman that has taken her fair share of self-defense classes and can take care of herself? Riiiiiight. Don’t want your friends making fun of you? Completely understandable, but still not a valid excuse. We’ve got pepper spray disguised as a black pen, perfume, lipstick and even as a tiny keychain. The fact is it’s super light, and you’ll (hopefully) never have to use it. But at least it’s there clipped on the side of your backpack or sitting at the bottom of your purse if you should ever need it.

2.) An alarm. A personal alarm costs next to nothing, and it creates a shrieking sound that will bring help immediately. In fact, alarms have been found to be almost more efficient than yelling help; people might not always come to the sound of someone yelling, but they will absolutely do something about an insanely annoying sound coming right outside their window. Put an alarm on your keychain and you’ll instantly have a way of drawing attention to yourself in a scary situation.

 

3.) A witness. What do you think is the greatest deterrent for a criminal? You might think it’s the punishment itself, but you’d be wrong. According to the most recent and valid research we could find, it’s not the severity of the punishment that criminals fear, it’s the certainty of punishment. That’s why most crimes happen in the absence of witnesses; no one wants to get caught. Enter the iWitness Smartphone Service. Not only can you film the offense taking place, but your phone also automatically calls 9-1-1 and tracks your location. Make sure you’re never alone again.

These things cost pennies on the dollar but they are incredibly helpful in keeping you safe, so what are you waiting for?!