A College Girl’s Guide: 10 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe in College!

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This post brought to you by SABRE. All opinions expressed below are that of the swirl.

This post was one of my favorites to write. That’s probably an extremely odd opening sentence especially if you’ve read the title {aka most of you}. BUT, it was my favorite because it has the potential to impact a ton of people in a positive and life changing way. At the same time, it sucks that I even have to take the time to write a post like this. I wish that we would all be safe without thinking about it, but going into the real world {the college bubble protects you slightly}: YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED. Preparedness keeps you safe.

Today, we partnered up with SABRE, a brand that’s been selling quality safety products for 40+ years now! They sent us some products to try and I figured I would come up with a list post to go along with our thoughts on the products because I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on these.

1. Always stay in groups and have your buddy!

I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay in groups and have a best buddy within that group that you won’t lose track of no matter what. If you’re going to be out late, this is crucial especially in your first weeks at school. My veterans out there, don’t get lazy with this. You might be more familiar with the area, but you’re still not exempt from creepers in the shadows. Buddy system is the way to go!

2. Have a backup plan: transportation, money,etc.

I like to have options. You don’t know exactly how every situation is going to go! Your car could have a freak malfunction or your debit card might get compromised. What are your backup plans? Don’t freak out and shut down. Your tears aren’t going to help you (it took me so long to figure this out y’all). I’d recommend setting up an Uber or Lyft for transportation emergencies–it’s bound to happen at some point while you’re on your own. I’d also recommend having an emergency cash stash or credit card so you’re always covered in case of bad luck.

Here’s what the Uber app looks like! I loved using it while I was in Houston to get around easily and you can even split the fare with your friends as long as they have the Uber app! Never tried Uber? You can use my code for a free ride! Code: gabbyw100

I’d really only recommend using it in groups and try not to need it during peak hours because it can get expensive! Make sure you’re only getting in cars with the Uber sticker and in some states drivers are required to have certain documentation visible! Also, the app gives you a picture of the driver, so make sure that everything matches up before EVER getting in a car.

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**UberXL allows you to have more people in the car! Uber Select is just a fancier version of a normal uber {think Mercedes and Range Rovers}!**

3. Traveling by foot? Have some defense mechanism readily available.

We were sent a ton of products from SABRE to test out and to help us be safer on campus, thanks again ;)! I specifically want to talk about the keychain sized pepper spray that Hannah and I both received in a fun pink color because who said safety can’t be chic?

Pepper Spray

I love that it’s small and portable, and can easily fit in a purse or tote! It came with great instructions that will teach you how to use it in a few easy steps. Trust me this was an important feature for someone who never carried pepper spray because I swore I would just injure myself. Best of all, I feel 100% comfortable using this which makes all the difference. With small safety devices like pepper spray or pocket knives, they are most effective when you are comfortable using them!

I also loved that they provide a practice canister for when you’re first learning how use pepper spray! I don’t know about y’all, but I went so long without having pepper spray because I just knew that I would end up injuring myself instead. No worries, though because I was able to practice with this canister filled with water instead of product! It even came with a practice target, too! Now, Hannah and I both know how to wield the mighty pepper spray with confidence and precision.

Practice Canister

4. Know about the safety precautions set up on your campus!

College campuses have become really big on providing wonderful safety precautions and you should have found out all about them during orientation. In case you’re entering your junior year and snoozed during freshman orientation, you can typically find information over on the security website. UNC has a ton of different resources about all the different resources that are available to students in case of emergency.

I’d be sure to have Public Safety numbers saved in my phone for late night emergencies. You can file reports and get great safety tips right after you pay your parking ticket violations… oh. But seriously, take advantage of all the information you can get online to keep yourself safe.

5. Wear brights colors when running at night so that you don’t become roadkill!

I’m not a big runner especially on these Carolina hills; I’m perfectly fine in the air conditioned gym on a Tread-master, but that’s just me! However, I do have a ton of friends who are big runners, aka Hannah, and I wouldn’t ever want them to get kidnapped on a Monday morning run.

BRIGHT COLORS SAVE LIVES. And so you thought ‘nappers were your biggest concern? Nope. I’d think the likelihood of you getting hit by a car is higher especially in the wee hours of the morning and night. Wear fun neon colors {because they’re hip and safe} on all your early morning and late night runs, you crazy kids.

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Hannah sampled the Handheld Runner Pepper Gel and Personal Alarm System! Overall, she’d probably go with the Handheld Runner Gel because it wasn’t as bulky as the Personal Alarm System which basically took over her entire wrist. If you aren’t as comfortable with using Pepper Spray, then the alarm would be a great alternative! It’s waterproof and can be heard from over 1,000 feet away which is perfect to carry around for trail runs that might be a little ways off the main campus walkways.

Runner Personal Alarm

PersonalAlarm HandGel

** The top should be closest to your thumb, be sure to always read the instruction manual before use!**

6. Set up your Medical ID on your cell phone!

God forbid that you actually end up in an accident or incident where you aren’t conscious to supply your personal identification information; but if your phone is around, it can be a valuable resource to your new friends  acquaintances and/or law enforcement. Your Medical ID allows you to share important health information with the people who need to know it!

Apple recommends you give information like:

  • allergies
  • height, weight, blood type, age
  • medications
  • emergency contact
  • medical conditions

It’s located within Apple’s Health App! Also, make sure you make it available on your lock screen so that it can actually be used.

7. Download safety apps like Circle of 6 that can call friends, family, and even 911.

My mom basically tied my to a chair until I downloaded the Circle of 6 app. And while it might sound like a creepy teen cult classic, it’s actually one of my favorite safety apps. I mentioned it in My College Survival Guide and I felt like it was important to mention it again!

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I love all the different features that it has, especially since it’s a FREE app! Sorry, it’s for iPhones only though. You can add 6 of your closest pals for easy access, send a “come and get me” text which gives you GPS location, my personal favorite: “call and pretend you need me” text to get out of sticky situations, and a “I need to talk” text! The app also allows you to call local authorities straight from the app and a “I’m okay” text as well! There are no words or sounds, so it makes it easy to use nonchalantly and without grabbing attention. A+ in my book!

8. Be weary of party food if you have major allergies.

Now, your mom isn’t going to be around 24/7 anymore with your Epi pen under her pillow at night. Clearly, I have no idea what it’s like to live with a serious food allergy, but I imagine my mom would most definitely do something like this. So, really be cautious in any scenario with free food, {to my freshies: it’s more than you would think}!

I’m sure you’re already pretty diligent about asking what’s in food, but definitely don’t get lazy! Safety in college is about more than having a buddy after a party and not being in parking lots late at night. You want to keep your health an important factor and this means being cognizant of what your putting in your body especially for serious allergies! FYI, the brownies always have nuts in them.

9. Keep your passwords updated and your key chain clear.

Along with keeping your health A1, you also need to make sure that you are technologically safe. We connect so much information nowadays to our various contraptions. As someone with over 4 different ways to access the internet and use credit cards, I’m always a little paranoid about being virtually compromised.

I have my Apple settings on entering a password before any purchase or card transaction which seems annoying but will save you a headache later, I promise ya! I don’t keep any of my passwords in my key chain and to be honest, I really wouldn’t suggest loading anything on ApplePay other than your Starbucks gold card! #priorities

Update your passwords every once and awhile. Honestly, this can be kind of a waste of time because hackers are probably going to break your combo in under 10 seconds. However, change email passwords frequently due to their relatively high hacking vulnerability and never send password information over email!! It’s not very likely that your online J.Crew account needs to be updated every 30 days though, no worries.

10. Be alert when walking around campus late at night.

  1. This is important basically anywhere in the world late at night. Be aware. Take your headphones out (guilty) and stay off your phones (guilty again). Midterm weeks are prime “staying at the library until 2am” days; but it also makes you vulnerable to creepers in the shadows! Be sure to check out if your campus has security programs that offer walks to your cars, dorms, or other campus areas by either security officers or paid student workers! They typically offer these during high peak library times aka midterms, finals, and the last 3/4 of the semester!

If you’re going to be at the off campus Starbucks until midnight, make sure to practice good parking lot safety. Park as close to the store as you can and make sure to park under street lights. Get into your car and lock it immediately. You really shouldn’t be playing PokémonGo, just sayin’.


Being safe in college is no laughing matter, but I hope this was entertaining enough to make it through the end! I hope it was jam packed with useful information and great products! We had a blast working with SABRE on this post because saftey shouldn’t be a taboo topic to talk about in the college world! It’s actually something I take very seriously as a female college student.

Being aware of your surroundings and keeping these tips in mind will keep you out of harm’s way! I want y’all to all be more worried about continuing to slay the college game and pursuing your dreams as #girlbosses! And to all my male readers, don’t think you’re off the hook! I want all of you to stay safe as well.

Check out all of our other college posts and stay on top of your game for this upcoming semester! Like this post? Share on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and tag us @theswirlblog so that we can keep up! Hope you enjoyed and stay safe for me!

xo,

Signature_Gabby

  • Aw such a great post! I’m not at university myself – I went for a week before I ended up leaving my course – but these are such thoughtful tips and really helpful, important advice! 😀 xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara | (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

    • Thanks for reading love!

      xo, Gabby

  • This was such an informative post! Much needed for all college students! Definitely sharing this.

    Sunny | astoldbysunny.com

    • Thanks for reading! It was actually really fun to write and put together 🙂

      xo, Gabby