One of the unfortunate truths about college is that theft can still occur there. Your car can be broken into, and your bike can be stolen.
Easily one of the biggest targets for thieves is laptops. Think about it — you’re holding a one-thousand dollar piece of technology designed to be portable.
For thieves, stealing a laptop isn’t too hard, and few people will even notice. During my freshman year, my friend’s car was broken into and his computer was stolen. One student even broke into an on-campus apartment to steal computers.
So how can you protect your valuable laptop from theft?
Probably the most common way of protecting your computer, laptop locks work by locking your laptop to something that will (hopefully) remain stationary. Typically, this is your desk.
The lock hooks into a little nook in the side of your laptop, where you’ll need a combination to release this and to move your laptop. Targus makes good locks, though you may be able to find cheaper.
Obviously, laptop locks prevent theft of your laptop, but in order to do so, they prevent you from using your laptop with as much portability as you’d like, which is probably why you bought a laptop instead of a desktop.
Anytime you want to take your laptop somewhere other than your desk, you’ll need to unlock it. Anytime you want to put it back, you’ll end up locking it. Laziness takes over fast, and it’s easy to forget to lock your computer.
Granted, locks are not foolproof. Someone could break the desk or cut the lock if they’re serious enough about it, but chances are they’ll be looking for an easier victim.
Do I need a laptop lock?
I bought a laptop lock and used it for the first few weeks until I realized my room was probably fairly safe from theft: our dorm was on the 2nd story, our door automatically locked when closed, and it was only open if either my roommate or I was there. I found the lock an inconvenience and didn’t use it much.
However, if you live on the first floor, if your door doesn’t necessarily lock, or if you think you could accidentally leave it open, you should definitely buy a lock. There are always stories of stolen laptops, and you don’t want yours to be one of them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Just make sure you use the lock. If you’re not locking your laptop to your desk every time, then that lock isn’t protecting you from anything. For more useful tips, check out this post.
How else can I protect my laptop?
In addition to locks, there are other solid ways to help prevent theft, most of them are common sense:
- Don’t leave your laptop unattended. If you’re leaving temporarily, either lock your door, lock your laptop, or bring your laptop with you (like at the library). Grabbing a laptop takes about twenty seconds, and your quick pee break will take more than enough time for someone to steal your computer.
- Don’t keep your laptop visible in your car. Either bring it with you in your backpack or keep it in the trunk. People will break into cars just to steal computers.
- Don’t set your laptop down even if it’s concealed. Many students drop off their backpacks at dining halls, but if your laptop’s in there, you should bring in your backpack or take your computer back to your room first. Leaving your laptop in your backpack unattended, even if it’s with others, is still a bad idea.
- Always be aware of where it is. If it’s in your backpack, keep track of your backpack and occasionally check to see if it’s still there. Make sure it’s still on your desk.
- If you do buy a lock, use a random number. Don’t use your room number, the last four numbers of your phone number, etc. Make it something random that people won’t guess just from knowing you a little bit. How have you kept your laptop safe?
Should I live with a high school friend in college?
When choosing a roommate for your first year away at college, many people will consider living with a friend from high school. Perhaps the friend is your best friend or perhaps it’s someone you think you’ll get along with.
Either way, living with someone you know offers you that sense of comfort of knowing that you’re still connected to home in case you get homesick. It also might prevent a lot of the awkwardness of meeting a new roommate.
But do you end up missing out on the college experience of meeting new people by living with someone you already know? Here’s how to decide if rooming with your high school friends is the best choice for you:
Living with a new roommate
When you live with someone who you’ve never met before, you definitely take a gamble on how well you two (or more, if you’re in a triple or a quad) will get along. Many roommates get along incredibly well and end up best friends, others simply co-exist, and some hate each other and clash.
However, when meeting a new roommate, your social circle expands. If you two hang out together, you begin to share friends, and you meet many people you otherwise would not have. You’re also exposed to new ways of life, whether through sharing different cultures, coming from a different area, or having different tastes.
Even if you don’t live with a high school friend, you can always hang out with them around school when you guys want. Granted, you won’t see them quite as much, but at least you won’t be forced to be around them when you don’t feel like it.
If you’re looking to really branch out in college, that is, if you’ve found the right college for you, living with someone new is probably the best choice to make.
Living with a high school friend
Living with a high school friend is usually fine. Many people claim that living with somebody you already know really limits you socially, but this isn’t always true. Maybe you’ve already met some other new students at Freshman Orientation and have a good impression of your peers.
If you lock yourselves up in your room or only hang out with other people from your high school, you definitely won’t branch out as much and you will miss out.
However, if you two go out and socialize, you two already make up the beginning of a social group, and other people can gravitate towards you, expanding your circle of friends.
However, living together can strain some friendships. Two girls I knew in high school who were best friends lived together their freshman year and ended up mortal enemies. Just because you’re best friends doesn’t mean you’re compatible to live together. Make sure you two are compatible as roommates.
If you’re the homesick type, living with someone you already know is probably the best choice — it helps ease the homesickness a lot. You can still make friends, but you’ll have the comfort of a home near you.
Keep in mind, though, that, especially in your first year at college, the risk of putting on weight (the so-called ‘Freshman-15’) is a common phenomenon.
Making the choice
Personally, I lived with someone new my first year and it really paid off. I’ve also met others who have lived with people they were friends with in high school and who really enjoyed it as well. Most students will live with someone new.
All in all, it comes down to what you really want your college experience to be like. If you’re looking to start fresh, don’t live with somebody you know, but if you and your best friend want to experience college together, then, by all means, do so.
Last Updated on September 12, 2020