- Travel in groups of at least two at night
I know that walking in large groups makes me feel like a freshman, but seriously, walking with at least one other person at night is much safer than walking alone. Some larger universities offer a system of being escorted by campus police at night if walking alone, but if you go to a somewhat smaller university like me, having a walking buddy is your safest bet.
- Pepper spray/ taser/ siren
Pepper spray, tasers, and/ or sirens (which make a loud noise to attract attention to others and deter an attacker in dangerous situations) are good options for walking alone at night. It is always better to be prepared in the event of an emergency and to be able to protect yourself if needed. These options are available to order online, and are small enough to carry with you at all times. Pepper spray and sirens can even fit on your keychain, so it is certainly convenient!
- Share your location with close friends
This is something I have done that comes in handy more than I expected. I have my location shared with my two roommates, ensuring that if they need to find me, they can at least know the most recent location I was at while using my phone. We all have our locations shared just in case we need to know where one another is, especially in a situation in which we have reason for concern.
- Buddy system for nights out
The first college party I ever went to, my friends and I used the buddy system, and have used it ever since. We each had a partner and did not leave without them to ensure that nobody was left behind. It can be easy to get separated from your friends, especially at a crowded gathering, so this option is a good way to make sure nobody is stranded somewhere.
- Trust your intuition
This may not be the most specific tip, but it is definitely one of the most important. If you have a bad feeling about a person or situation, trust your gut. It is better to miss out on an event than end up in a potentially dangerous situation. Personally, when I ignored my gut instinct at a party last year, I ended up in a dangerous situation that quite honestly scared me. Whenever you have a strange inkling, it is better to leave than wait to see if you were right.