The only piece of advice my mother gave me before I came to NYU went something like this: “Sophie, never take the subway late at night, drunk, and alone.” At the time I scoffed at her, because I thought, “Of course I would never do something as stupid as that!” Then I actually got to college, and I realized that making some bad decisions along the way was pretty much inevitable.
In any case, one of the most important lessons one can learn at college is how to stay safe. Some of us learn from experience, (sorry mom!) others learn from friends’ stories, and still others may learn from the wisdom of total strangers. But whether you’re a seasoned vet or doe-eyed newbie, we could all stand to brush up on some safety tips and tricks.
1. Try to stay with somebody else, or, better yet, a group
This goes for situations that involve being drunk as well as those that don’t. Whether you’re heading back from a bar or from a late night study session, always try to stick with someone else. This can be hard to do, and unfortunately it’s not always possible, but it’s some of the best advice you’re likely to get while here.
2. Bring enough money with you for a cab or a subway ride
The last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere with no way to get home. It’s also a good idea to keep this separate from any other money you may have—that way you won’t be tempted to spend it on that 7th whiskey sour or a second bag of weed.
3. Know the locations of a few 24-hour stores or restaurants
These can be life-savers if you need somewhere to hang out for an hour or two. A lot of diners are open all night, but there’s also Veselka in the East Village, French Roast in the West Village, and the 7th Avenue Donut Shop in Park Slope.
4. Get familiar with NYU’s safety policies and services
The university provides a lot of resources for its students, including the Safe-Ride program, which provides overnight transportation to and from NYU buildings. Though it’s generally reliable, the “13 to 15 minute wait” for the van is a vast underestimation—be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes, if not more. There are also a number of emergency safety locations on or close to campus, including St. Mark’s Bookstore and Bagel Bob’s. (A full list can be found here.)
5. Know your subway system
Stations with lit green lights are open 24 hours, red globes mean that the entry is closed, and red over white coloring is a metro-card only entrance. The subway also tends to run slower late at night, but the MTA just released a late-night service map to make all of our lives easier.
6. Common sense is the best. No, really!
You’ve probably heard the phrase “just use your common sense” more times than you can count, and there’s a reason for it. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are it’s not. If some dude wearing orange parachute pants tries to get you to come to his totally awesome basement party, it’s probably a good idea to give it a miss. But if for some reason you do take him up on it, make sure you bring at least five people with you. And your own weed.
Got any other worthwhile tips? Leave them in the comments section. Otherwise, stay safe out there, because we’re already looking forward to next year’s installment of crazy stories.