Getting Prepared, the College Years
By Kathleen LaPorte
Twelve years of school, countless numbers of standardized test, a tassel, a diploma, and a college acceptance letter and you are fully prepared for college, or are you? We’ve put together a few helpful tips on how to get ready for college.
Be in the Know
First and foremost get a map. No one wants to be that lost freshman who doesn’t know how to get to class. In addition to knowing where your classes are, check-out where the on-campus health center and local emergency services are located. It’s always important to know where to go for a twisted ankle or the flu (don’t forget your flu shot!), remember your mom isn’t going to be there to take your temperature and make you soup.
Now let’s talk dorms. Get ready to squeeze your entire living space into your bedroom, oh and add a roommate to share it with. Pack the essentials and learn to organize. Your dorm may be packed tight but you always have room for an emergency kit.
Here are a few extra things to add to your list when shopping for college:
- Extra supply of water
- Non-perishable food (cans, dried fruits, and the college staple–ramen–are all good choices)
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
- Additional personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.
Put all these items in a plastic container or bag that can slide easily under your desk or bed. You may have limited space but if a disaster does strike you’ll be glad you were prepared.
It’s time to put all those fancy new graduation gifts to use. You’ll soon discover that new laptop can be used for more than watching movies and checking Facebook. You now can take your homework with you anywhere, lucky you!
But let’s be honest nowadays we wouldn’t leave home without our phone or computer. Always having them with you makes them the perfect tools to use to alert you of an emergency.
Many colleges are using new online sources to communicate information about natural disasters or threats. Tools such as text-messages, Facebook post and tweets are some of the methods used to instantly communicate alerts to the entire campus during an emergency situation.
In order to benefit from these communication sources, make sure that you are on an email or contact list to receive real time updates during an emergency and know the best resources to get accurate and up-to-date information during an emergency. [You can also follow @CDCReady for emergency information tips]
A+ in Planning
Most dorms conduct fire-drills, often conveniently timed for right when you step in the shower or around 3 a.m. when you’re fast asleep. Even though it’s a drag to get up and leave your dorm in the middle of the night, take these alerts seriously. Knowing how to react in an emergency could make a big difference in ensuring your safety.
Take time to prepare for other disaster as well. Do you know where the safest place is in your dorm in case of a tornado or how about an earthquake? It’s important to understand the threats in your area and what to do.
CDC provides information that can be helpful for students about the proper way to handle different natural disaster. Information can be found on the CDC’s emergency preparedness and response website at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/.
Now that you are off to college don’t forget about your parents. You’ll be begging for a home cooked meal and someone to do your laundry soon enough. Make sure to include your parents in your emergency plan too.
If a disaster does happen they will be the first ones who want to know if you’re ok. It’s important to talk to family and friends about how to get in contact during an emergency and the best plan to reduce panic back home.
You learn so much in college, inside and outside the classroom, so here’s a head start on all those lessons you have to learn, always be prepared. Have a plan and stay informed. Being ready for anything will help you be ready for everything college, and life, has to throw your way.
For more preparedness tips, follow @CDCReady.
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- Page last reviewed:August 10, 2012
- Page last updated:August 10, 2012
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