Summer has come and gone and fall brings about new beginnings as teenagers are leaving their nests nationwide to take on the real world as college freshmen.

While safety is certainly always a priority, it becomes an even more pressing matter when it comes to you or your child heading off to college for the first time. The transition to adulthood can be freeing and have many benefits, but it can also be intimidating, or concerning, if you’re a parent, thinking about the potential new dangers that your child may enter as they take on the world for their first time solo.

Here at Gracie Barra, we believe everyone is capable of defending themselves given the proper knowledge, training, and instinct, which is why we offer self-defense classes for college students and people of all ages in Santa Barbara. But, in order to help you or your student to be fully prepared for this transition, we have outlined our key college self-defense tips to send you to campus fully equipped.

#1: Use Locks

This tip is one we’re sure your parents have already chimed in about, but you can avoid many stressful scenarios by making a keen habit of locking your dorm or apartment doors, cars, and valuables. When we say to use locks, we mean it not to simply protect your stuff, but yourself too. A simple locked door can change the mind of a predator looking for an easy target, so be sure when returning to your car or room at night to always lock the doors after getting inside.

#2: Don’t Post Everything Online

While this tip also applies when living at home, it becomes even more imperative when living alone for the first time. It is never wise to post to the world your current location, so be sure to always make your social media private so that the public can’t see details about your life. Posting things like “All alone in the Library studying” or “Just taking a night walk around campus” and tagging your location, makes you and your valuables incredibly vulnerable.

#3 Trust Your Gut

This is a major one. If you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, fully acknowledge it and then remove yourself from the situation. At worst, you might be overcautious and have to deal with FOMO (fear of missing out if you’re a parent reading this), but at best, you avoid potentially a very dangerous turn of events. Trust your instincts — they’ve gotten you this far in life.

#4 Take Self-Defense Classes

When it comes to self-defense, we often come across students with one of two mindsets. Either they believe they don’t need self-defense because they can feel they can already sufficiently protect themselves, or they think they aren’t capable of it, so learning techniques for self-defense won’t help them in a real-life situation. Neither of these could be further from the truth. No matter what your age, size, strength, or athleticism may be, Gracie Barra’s self-defense classes will help you turn your mind and body into powerful self-defense tools to implement when the time calls.