House Editorial: Using Common Sense

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few years ago, a BYU student decided to hike Y Mountain by himself and ended up losing the trail and getting lost — in February. Luckily, he was able to call 911 before his phone died and was found before it got too cold. Someone joked that the operator should have given directions by asking him if he saw a giant white letter on the mountain.

While a somewhat humorous story, it reflects a deeper issue and one that can be particularly troublesome for college students. Too often, we tend to think of our actions as more responsible and safe than they really are.

Most students only left home a few years ago to assert their independence. We left the shelter of our parent’s protection and are now accountable to ourselves. If we want our parents and others to see us as responsible adults, our actions must reflect responsible decision-making.

Too often, we see rules as hindrances resrticting our social lives or preventing us from doing something “cool.” We label them as archaic or claim they apply to other people but not us. In reality, such guidlines protect us from reckless behavior that in the end could limit us more than any guideline ever did. Just as a climber may never slip or fall during a climb, a harness, rope and several clips neverthe less protect him in the possibility of a fall.

Below are several safety tips students need to keep in mind.

Inform others: First, always, always, always tell someone where you are going and approximately when you expect to be back. While Aron Ralston has become famous for his self-amutation in a Southern Utah canyon, his story could have end much differentlty if he had told someone where he was hiking. A simple note would do the job.  Even better, don’t go hiking alone.

Stranger danger: When we were children, our mothers always told us to not take candy from strangers. Why does that logic not stick when we are adults? This is not to mean that we aren’t kind and courteous to strangers, but use your common sense. Ted Bundy, an infamous serial killer, would feign car troubles to lure his victims to him. The news is peppered with other stories of victims who simply thought they were helping someone. If someone on the side of the road and needs help, stop and inquire, but make sure others are with you. Until sure of the situation, don’t get too close.

This also applies to who you accept rides from and where you stay when travelling. Reading reviews of a person on Couch Surfer does not equate to knowing them.

Again, this advice is not meant to encourage you to pepper spray anyone who looks at you the wrong way.

Follow your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, speak up. It is better to risk offending someone than to not speak up when a person’s actions or a situation may result in harm. More often than not your instincts are right.

Other common sense items: Don’t walk alone after dark. The fact that students are adults who may be able to take care of themselves does not trump the fact that walking alone in secluded areas is dangerous. While Provo is a fairly safe city, one only needs to look at the Sex Offender Registry for the two-mile radius surrounding campus to realize that dangers still exist in Happy Valley.

Exceptions can be found to every rule. However, exceptions are simply that — exceptions. They are they outliers that prove the norm. We are not invincible. Our mortality will always catch up with us, but that doesn’t mean that we have to race towards it with reckless behavior.

If we follow every rule and guideline, does that mean that nothing bad will ever happen? Of course not. Life still happens. Accidents still happen. But you can avoid many such compromising or dangerous situations simply by using common sense.

This viewpoint represents the opinion of The Daily Universe editorial board and does not necessarily represent the opinions of BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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