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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

8 Stupid Ways College Students Put Themselves In Danger

by Hugo Reed June 6, 2016

The years you spend as a student in college are undoubtedly some of the best years of your life. It is probably the one time that you have a limitless number of experiences just waiting for you to grasp them. Yeah, college is a poetic masterpiece of fun, excitement and bad decisions that we all learn from and use to grow. As fun as it may be, it is important that college students never lose sight of their own personal safety while they are consumed by the bubble that is a college campus.

Many college campuses have safety protocols in place to help keep their students secure and protected, but these are not always enough to prevent college students from finding themselves in precarious situations. Most of us have been there, and we know just how hard it is to not get swept up in the excitement of being in a new place surrounded by so many like-minded individuals (hopefully). Don’t allow the excitement and the independence of being away from home for the first time make you act crazy. Let’s take a look at some of the stupid things college students do that ends up putting them in the way of danger.

1. Downplaying The Need for Self-Defense

College is often marketed as a safe space for young, eager minds to grow and learn, as well as bounce their innovative and crazy ideas off the mind of someone just as crazy or innovative. This might be true in some cases, but not all college campuses are crime free. If anything, they are all akin to a minuscule version of the danger zone. Many students are oblivious to how dangerous a college campus can be. There is an ever lingering threat that is posed by being surrounded by a multitude of people that you do not know.

I’m not saying that you should be entirely pessimistic your first year of college, but that you should merely be aware of the dangers you potentially face. There are threats from both within and outside the campus, especially for schools that are nestled in the hearts of big towns or metropolitan areas. Crime statistics also state the dangers faced by areas just outside of major cities. They present a much bigger threat due to the increased number of people that the students become exposed too. This is why I believe that it is a stupid and dangerous thing for students to downplay the need for self-defense, and this is something I have seen many of them do time and time again.

Most people do not care about security no matter their circumstances. But college students face unique challenges. It is a good idea to invest in some form of self-defense training, this could be in the form of an extracurricular activity or even an elective class. There are also various options available to students in the form of purchasing a taser, pepper spray or any other device that might enhance your personal security. It is important that you find out from your school’s administration whether or not there are classes of this sort at your disposal, and also whether or not you are allowed to possess some of the devices listed above. I know some schools don’t allow particular forms of personal defense gadgets because they can be used as weapons, but it is always good to ask and be certain.

2. Getting Lost in Technology


Technological advancements have become a part of our modern lives. If there is not a giant leap in some form of technology every passing year, then chances are the world had a very boring year. Smartphones are a fun thing to have, and they are efficient too! However, do not let them continually draw your focus away from the things around you. Take a walk on any college campus and you’re bound to find people lost in shiny screens with their eyes glazed over as they stare at Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page. Cell phones and mobile devices are, without a doubt, essential to living a modern life with ease. And with smart locks, you can use your smartphone as the key to your front door. It would seem they are also responsible for the growing disconnect between people and the reality of what is going on in close proximity to them. This may seem trivial and inconsequential, but the truth of the matter is that it can prove harmful to college students.

College students are already in an environment where most of the people around them are strangers. They are still in the process of forming lasting bonds with the people around them so everyone needs to be on guard and aware of their surroundings. Instead, most of them are lost in their phone screens, engulfed in some strategy game or staring at a Kardashian. It is essential that college students pick up the habit of looking away from their phone every now and then so that they can better judge what is going on around them. It will allow them to react much faster to anything unforeseen and give them a better chance at perceiving imminent danger. If you are more aware of your surroundings you have a much better chance of staying safe should any eventuality arise. There are some college students who have lost their lives because they were too engrossed in their phones to see an oncoming car speeding right at them.

3. Neglecting the Use of Emergency Contacts

People have emergency contacts for a reason. It is essential that there is always someone who can be contacted in case of an emergency. This may sound irrelevant to most college students, and I know this because I never took advantage of this when I was in school. At that age, when you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you each attain this collective sense of invincibility. Sounds weird right? However, it happens! There are many college students walking around at this very moment who do not have any emergency contacts programmed into their phone, or who have not listed any emergency contacts with anyone in case there is a need to call an outside party.

This is a thing that is always important to do/have in case you are ever in a situation that is considered an emergency and you need to contact someone as soon as possible. If whatever situation you are in escalates to the point where you feel your life is in imminent danger, then it is always best that you dial 9-1-1 first. However, in the instance where you simply need to reach someone and notify them of where you are, or even get a ride home because you’re too drunk to drive, it helps to have some emergency contacts. It’s a truly invaluable resource to build a safety net around yourself that can come to your aid should you ever need it.

4. Excessive Drinking


Now, before anyone out there labels me a party pooper, I want to assure you that I only aim to offer advice to keep you safe. There is no harm in drinking, a good red wine goes well with a beautifully cooked steak. It’s an integral part of life. However, the danger arises when an individual drinks way too much in a short amount of time and can no longer properly control their motor and bodily functions. Very few groups of people consume as much alcohol as college freshmen (or just college students for that matter). The reason why is very understandable.

Many of these students are only just finding their feet and figuring out what they want in life. They are impressionable and hardly say no to anything, including reckless and unchecked alcohol consumption. A good number of these students consider themselves invincible party animals, while many others are susceptible to the impressions of these so called invincible party animals. It might sound fun but it is the breeding ground for rather unhealthy and unsafe habits that go a long way to putting college students at great risk.

When an individual drinks alcohol in excessive amounts, many aspects of their regular activities and functions become impaired. Drinking affects the communication pathways in the brain which in turn makes it hard for people to think straight. When under the influence, it causes impaired speech and vision as well as disrupting cognitive functions. Essentially, drinking to the point where you are incoherent makes you borderline irresponsible. It is important to know your limits, especially when you are in college, because of how dangerous a college campus can be.

Many students have fallen victim to some form of theft, physical abuse or sexual assault while they were under the heavy influence of alcohol. I’m not saying that any of these acts are excusable. No, I believe they should not even exist in the first place. However, if your mental faculties are fully functional and not impaired, it gives you a better chance of avoiding these situations or offering up some form of resistance. I realize that none of those dangerous acts should even be happening in the first place, but the world is not such an idealistic place.

Drinking excessively always poses some form of danger. Even if you are binge drinking by yourself, there is a high chance that liquid courage will make you do something you might regret. And alcohol will also put your security at risk, and you may end up needing to call a locksmith after a night of drinking.

5. Drug Abuse

According to information gathered by the Addiction Center, college students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Yes, you read that right, college students are major drug abusers. This comes as a surprise to no one. When students leave to college, a good number of them are sad to be parting ways (temporarily) with many good friends and their family members. However, that brief sadness is quickly overshadowed by the prospect of freedom and independence that college gives young adults. This freedom pushes many of them to try new things, and one of those new things is drugs.

Aside from the freedom and independence, the Addiction Center also cites stress, an excessive course load and other external factors as some of the reasons why college students turn to drugs and heavily abuse them. Aside from Alcohol abuse, many other college students are known to heavily consume Adderall, Marijuana, Ecstasy and Cocaine. These drugs (licit or not) pose short term and long term dangers to students. It impairs their ability to study effectively, and rather than aiding their mental health it begins to impede it more than anything else.

There is a constant sense of danger looming over people who abuse drugs. If something life-threatening is occurring, you will not be in full control of your actions to adequately take care of yourself, and this puts your life at even greater risk. Burglars, sexual predators and other types of criminals are always on the prowl looking to take care of people who are at a disadvantage, and drug abuse puts you at a disadvantage.

6. Leaving Doors Unlocked


This may seem redundant to some, but leaving doors unlocked is one of the stupid ways that college students put themselves in danger. When I was in college, I was one of the students that adapted really quickly to the life of living inside a bubble because I had already gone through it at boarding school. However, while in college, you grow to believe that everyone around you shares the same ideals and might view life in the same way and this leads you to form a false sense of community while simultaneously letting your guard down. The act of letting your guard down as a freshman, when you are still trying to figure out the way things work around you, is one of the most dangerous things that can be done.

I realized that this had happened to me when I stopped locking my doors and became more careless and more trusting of those around me. This changed when my laptop got stolen halfway through my first term as a freshman. It is important that you lock your doors when you are in your room getting ready to sleep, and equally important that you lock it whenever you are not around. The situation that can occur may not always be as infinitesimal as the loss of a laptop. In some cases, students have fallen victim to sexual assault because they left their doors unlocked. It is of the utmost importance that college students to fall into the state of negligence that makes them believe that the world is an entirely happy-go-lucky place.

7. Ditching The Buddy System

The buddy system was something I learned about when I was much, much younger. However, it is something that I still employ to this day. There is some truth to the saying ‘strength in numbers’ and that is one lesson my parents drilled into my head. I do value my independence and my alone time as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean that I do not enjoy the company of my friends or need them to be around sometimes. The buddy system is one thing that many college students are quick to do away with. This is mostly due to their new found sense of independence and the fact that they feel like they can do almost anything on their own.

It is essential that you adhere to the buddy system in college because it will help you out of many hairy situations that you might undoubtedly find yourself in. If you are walking home from an evening class late at night, it helps to have a friend walking with you so that they can minimize any danger that comes along. This is especially important for students that reside off-campus. It is especially prescient for the security of people living alone. The buddy system helps give them an added layer security as they move between home and school. Many thefts and crimes committed against college students are done at night and done when the victim is alone. So one way to combat this is to make sure that you are never alone at a time that seems unsafe.

The buddy system has also helped many college students find their way back to their dorm rooms after nights of heavy drinking and partying. If you are a college student who is going to completely ignore the sections above that discussed drug abuse and alcohol abuse then you should most definitely employ the buddy system. It is important to make sure that when you are drinking or partying that you have some of your close friends around you at all times, preferably ones that are a lot more sober than you. This creates an additional level of safety and security that you can fall back on if you are too impaired to take care of yourself. Choose your friends wisely and only let your guard down around those you trust, it just might save your life.

8. Bad Personal Hygiene


One of the many life lessons that college taught me was that most students don’t like to shower, or brush their teeth, or take care of themselves in any given way. I always wondered why this was even a trend and I could never really grasp the logic behind it. Now, I’m not calling you out if you went through the whole day and made it to all your classes in pajamas, there is nothing wrong with that. I’ve done it before! It doesn’t necessarily imply that you don’t take good care of yourself, you might just have been too tired from a studying for a long all-nighter and did not have the time to shower or change.

The issue I’m raising is the neglect of personal hygiene that most college students have. I’m sure people think this is funny, in truth so do I, but it is also very dangerous to the wellbeing of students. When you have that many students interacting with one another on a daily basis it leads to the spread of a lot of germs and bacteria, especially when a handful of people are not taking care of themselves. It makes the general student body more susceptible to catching diseases that are easily spread. For instance, during my sophomore year, the flu spread around campus like the plague and most of the nurses attributed this to the student’s dismal personal hygiene.

When sharing a community with so many people, it is important to keep yourself clean and tidy and practice a good sense of personal hygiene. If you happen to have flu symptoms, invest in some hand sanitizer and wash your clothes and bedsheets. Do not go around acting like everything is fine while you shake everyone’s hands and spread the flu. If you have a skin rash that spreads on contact, then treat it, rather than going around giving everyone high-fives. College students have an impressive disregard for personal hygiene, and even though it is not as dangerous as some of the things listed above, it is still pretty stupid.


Like I said in the beginning, the years you spend in college will undoubtedly be some of the best years of your life. The only way to way to make sure that you get to adequately experience these years is by keeping safe and not putting yourself in the way of danger. Whether you are reading this as a parent, a current student or a college prospect, I hope you’ve learned something that will go a long way to help you. Stay safe, drink less, use the buddy system, and take a shower!

Category: Crime, Safety & Security

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