SO OUR special annual College Student Guide is super fun. We have all kinds of cool, practical stuff in here, from where to find late night eats, to realistic local bicycling tips, to the pending emergence of a real 18-20 music scene here, long delayed until a new City ordinance which will directly impact you for the better.
But let me go ahead and kick things off on an incredibly depressing note, OK?
One of the delightful aspects of my job is I get to be the bad guy who gives everyone the bad news. So here’s some brutally truthful advice you probably didn’t hear in any of your college pitches.
If you’re a newcomer, I’ll be frank. Despite our obvious charm and outgoing nature, Savannah can be a dangerous city. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble!
Our staffer Rachael Flora has contributed a great safety guide in this issue from the perspective of a recent college graduate (which, cough-cough, I’m certainly not).
However, I thought I’d go a step further and use my bully pulpit here to give you an even bigger dose of the unvarnished truth, and the unvarnished advice to go with it.
First, maintain situational awareness at all times. This does not mean be paranoid. Quite the opposite. It means don’t let distractions keep you from noticing potentially threatening people or situations.
It’s called “Condition Yellow.” Basically that means don’t be in Condition White, which is totally inept obliviousness, i.e. your face stuck in your iPhone playing Pokemon Go on Whitaker Street at 2 a.m.
Don’t be that guy or girl!
(Note: I’m not saying you don’t have every right to be on Whitaker at 2 a.m.—I’m saying keep your head on a swivel if that’s really where you want to be.)
Second, have a plan for the worst-case scenario. Yup, I’m talking about an active shooter situation. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but these incidents happen alarmingly frequently, as you're probably aware.
Simply put, if your “plan” is to hide under a desk and play dead, dead is exactly what you’ll be.
Most schools are woefully inadequate in having a realistic active shooter protocol. My strong advice is to use speed as your friend. A moving target is difficult to hit.
In any case, spend some time thinking what you might do if the unthinkable happens. (Pro tip: This shouldn't involve making a Facebook video of yourself during the incident!)
Third, consider a level of personal defense you’re comfortable with.
Wait a minute, is he saying I should pack heat? Well, not really — if you’re under 21 you’re too young to conceal-carry a firearm legally, and Georgia doesn’t allow firearms on a college campus anyway.
However, Georgia does now allow those 18+ to carry a Taser. Get one—they’re cheap—and get in the habit of carrying it. It’s no use back at the dorm or in your car.
Speaking of cars: Don’t text and drive! And consider shaming those who do. There’s no status update or Insta post worth dying over, or killing someone over.
So did I scare you enough? No worries. My last bit of advice: Enjoy all the actual fun stuff in this special issue!