College on Your Own: Tips for Safely Navigating Your New City

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

Attending a new college in an unfamiliar place can be daunting. When it’s in a new city, it can be simply terrifying. The best way to get acquainted with your new city is to get out and explore. With a little common sense and some preparation, you can get out and see the city safely and get to know your new surroundings.

Bring a Cell Phone Charger
Your cell phone has a host of life-saving features that can keep you out of trouble. When you’re out and about, the last thing you want is for your battery to die on you. Bring along a mobile charger and you can ensure that if you do get lost and your phone dies, you can recharge it to find your way home using the built-in GPS and Map apps on your phone.

Go to the Highest Point in the City
There are few ways to help you get your bearings better than going to the highest point in the city. From here, you should be able to see your college and get a good view of the surrounding areas. This will make it easier for you to start to visualize the streets and neighborhoods, and it can also help you get some good ideas for where to go.

Learn the Transit System
Get to know the transit system even if you have a vehicle. Pick up a tourist map for your city, and visit the main sites during your first month at your school. This not only helps you get a good feel for the city, it can help you to appreciate the community you’ll be living in for the next few years. An understanding of the local culture can even help improve your relationships with your professors and make local friends.

Store Your Belongings Safely
Until you really get to know your roommates, it’s not a bad idea to keep your valuables in storage unit near you. A unit can also be useful for when you go out of town or back home for the holidays and don’t want to renew the lease on your apartment. You’ll be able to store all your stuff and not have to worry about it getting lost or damaged while you’re out enjoying the break. Dorm rooms are especially space-limited, so grab a storage unit to help you to bring more of the things that matter to you.

Don’t be afraid to get out and experience the new city your college is in. Your college experience is partially about learning how to take care of yourself while being out on your own. With the right attitude, you’ll develop your independence and excel in school.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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