When you take into consideration the plus points of being student it really isn’t too tricky to see why there are almost 2.5million enrolled in higher education the UK. The experience provides not only the opportunity to study and gain a degree in your chosen area, but the independence of living away from home and more social benefits than you could wish for. However, as well as attaining the qualification that will hopefully provide the gateway to your future it is also extremely important you get the most from your days at university, and a key part of this hinges on staying safe and out of danger. This, the second half of our handy Student Security Essentials guide, provides further tips to protect yourself and your property…
In the first article we looked at how essential it is to be vigilant when walking home at night, especially if you absolutely have to go it alone. You might need to make a phone call on your mobile at some point but it is most definitely advisable to limit these to conversations that really cannot wait until you are home. Try not to talk on your phone for too long as not only will you be less alert to your surroundings but you’ll also be letting everyone in the vicinity know that you’re carrying what is likely to be an expensive possession. A lot of personal information gets stored on our phones nowadays too, so it is a good idea to avoid storing sensitive data such as PIN numbers and internet banking details on the device. Finally, never leave your phone unattended on the table in pubs, bars and clubs and if it is stolen be sure to report it straight away.
Use public transport with some gentle caution
Public transport comes in extremely handy for so many students and while buses, trains and trams are generally perfectly safe it still helps to be on your guard. If you are travelling to a location that is unfamiliar to you try to arrange for a friend to meet you there if this is at all possible. If you need to use a bus late at night then look for bus stops which are well-lit or if you are waiting for a tram or train then go to a section of the platform that is illuminated. Sit as close to the front as you can on the bus or in one of the busier carriages of the train and if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any way then get off as soon as you can.
Ask who it is before answering the door
Living away from home can be a lot of fun and there is certainly no need to feel scared about staying in your student accommodation. If anything at all concerns you during your stay in halls or private rented accommodation then don’t hesitate to report it to those in charge, your landlord or the relevant authorities. While you are living in your accommodation you can expect to have visitors from time to time and examples of this are room inspectors every few months and maintenance engineers if something in your flat or room has to be looked at or fixed. These people will always knock on the door and tell you who they are and should show ID, but if you get a visitor and you are not sure who it might be, ask before opening.
Be selective when giving out information
Meeting new people on a daily basis is one of the best aspects of being a student but there are some instances when you should be a little more guarded about the information you give about yourself. Be sensible about who you give your full name and address to and if you get a phone call from anyone claiming to be from your bank and asking for your details be very suspicious. Your bank will not call to ask for this information, nor will they do it by email. Have your vital documents properly organised and in a safe place and don’t leave vehicle documents in the car as it makes it easier for a thief to sell. If you end up looking for your own accommodation then be aware of property rental scams. If you are viewing an ad that asks you to pay money into an account to view it then go no further.
Take care on nights out
There are many, many opportunities to let your hair down as a student and the nights out will no doubt form some of the most memorable parts of your time studying. However, alcohol and reduced inhibitions can often be a recipe for disaster and can leave you susceptible to danger. It is not a case of cutting back on your fun but rather being aware of how to protect yourself while having a great time. If you have zips on your clothing or your bags then always make sure you have them sealed and be mindful of showing off valuable possessions. Drinks can be spiked with drugs at any time so guard your glass or bottle closely and get a friend to hold or keep an eye on your drink if you have to leave it temporarily. Drinks can be spiked whether they are alcoholic or not, so don’t fall into thr trap of thinking you’re not at risk because you’re on the soft drinks. If you have a bottle then keeping your thumb over the top while you hold it is advisable. Hopefully this series of articles hasn’t put you off the uni experience too much and has provided some useful, practical advice on remaining safe whilst you’re away studying. Three years at university should provide you with some of the best times of your life — don’t let carelessness ruin it.