OPINION: A college girl’s guide to campus safety

Campus can be scary, but you don’t have to let it be. Whether you’re walking to your dorm after a late class or to your car across campus, you should feel confident you’re safe.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m some superhuman who doesn’t get scared walking alone — I’m a woman in the city after all.

Walking to my car at night does scare me: in fact, I usually call my mom and talk to her on the way there.

It’s not that campus doesn’t feel safe, it’s just that the night makes everything scarier. Is that person following me or just walking to their car?

I have gotten more comfortable the longer I’m here, but the feeling doesn’t just go away. You’ll need to work to make yourself feel safe.

If you’re worried in your dorm at night, the first step is to try to calm down. While a gut feeling can be a good indicator of something wrong, the chances are you’re safe.

To calm down, you can talk to your roommate or campus friends about what is making you feel unsafe; they will be able to help you. Sometimes you just need to talk it out to see the problems clearly.

Likewise, if a friend comes to you, don’t make them feel stupid about their worries, even if they’re irrational. Help them out and get help if you need to.

Know that you can talk to professors too. They’ve been on campus for a long time and are willing to listen and help you if you’re feeling unsafe.

Another way to feel safe is to make sure you are completely confident in where you’re going. Knowing the campus layout and following the quickest routes to where you’re going make it simple.

Across campus there are emergency call boxes that you can use to get in touch with campus police when you feel that you need help. Campus police care about your safety and are here to help you.

You can dial 911 on any of the call boxes to be put through to WSU police, or you can call 316-978-3450 for non-emergency issues.

If you just struggle with feeling safe on campus, there are a couple possible solutions I can suggest.

Personally I carry pepper spray — one on my keys and in each of my bags. I usually carry it at night on campus just to make myself feel better.

A whistle or alarm can also be helpful. Keep it on your keychain or somewhere easily accessible in case you find yourself in a bad situation. I would recommend an alarm that you can use at the push of a button.

You can also use the buddy system in which you don’t go anywhere alone — especially at night. Have a friend that can walk with you. If it’s to your car you can drop them off at their car or wherever they need to be after, so they also don’t have to walk alone.

You don’t have to feel unsafe on campus. Find ways that make you feel comfortable. Most importantly try to never go anywhere alone after dark.

It’s okay to feel nervous, but it’s not okay to do nothing about it. Stay safe.