Life's Like That: Top five ways to stay safe and have fun

Whether you are a student, teacher, or someone outside the education setting we've all heard or told stories about Reading Week or March Break at some point in our lives. The stories we are generally told range from the “Positive Break Experience” like a great trip away, to the “Not-So-Great Break Experience” that might involve acts of physical violence, drinking just a little too much or experiencing some injustice towards you like sexual assault or robbery. Finally, we tend to exchange the unfortunate stories of what happened to the other people we were with. The stories could be about something fairly minor like seasickness or major like injury, abduction and more.

Regardless of your plans the tips that I have for you will put you on the right track for staying safe and having fun anytime, anywhere.

1. Regardless of where you go, let somebody know: If you're in any situation that you're not familiar with, even in your hometown, you've got to be smart about it. Tell at least three people where you're going, when you're coming home and whom you're with. Make sure you keep this info up-to-date, even if it's something as simple you're leaving Jim Bob's to go to Tap House. The more people who know where you should be when you're not, the faster (if something has happened) they will be alerted to seek help.

2. Be friendly but always keep in mind not all people are kind: This misjudgment can be made at anytime in our everyday lives. Yet it is almost unbelievable when people go home for the break or go on vacation how often this rule is ignored or forgotten. Don't be dumb, sometimes those who are just a little too friendly, a bit too helpful, or want to talk to you “by yourself” need to be approached with caution. When we think of these kinds of situations, often we think of a girl being wary of a guy, but this involves both genders. If you think you're being safer with the “add me to Facebook” line just remember you're running a risk. Ask yourself about what's on your Facebook. Can you be traced? Is your phone number on there?

stressed out young woman

3. Think it through: I'm all about spontaneity; however, make sure you're always in a situation where you're not stuck relying on others for a ride home, drinks or a place to sleep, for example. It is fine to depend on your pals, but understand you can't rely on everyone. For example: if you're banking on Jess paying for the cab because you're broke and she's left the party, you may be easily persuaded by Alex to spend the night at his house than you would under normal circumstances. My point is be smart and avoid situations where you're more vulnerable than those you are surrounded by.

4. Regardless of where you are making sure you're not “It”: Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't dress up and have a good time when you're out. Just remember that attracting attention to yourself — intentional or not — isn't always a good thing. As a result of our seemly harmless behaviours like dancing a certain way or making eye contact with that boy may encourage negative results like violent altercations. Anytime a person attracts too much attention to herself, they are opening the door for potential unwanted advances. Criminals look for prey, and by attracting too much attention to yourself that's just what you are to them.

5. Have a great time. Being in unfamiliar territories can make you stressed. Try and chill out, so you can deal with what you are doing in the moment. I have found that the more a person worries about what could happen on or what they should and shouldn't do, the greater the likelihood that bad things will happen. Be confident in your overall decision-making and keep your head in the moment.

I feel confident that if your can tailor these suggestions to fit in with your plans, your risk of possible harm may just be just that — a risk. If you keep safety in mind at all times, you will be able to retell all of the amazing stories of when you and your friends let loose and lived up your youth.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.