Made it home okay! Goodnight!
Yay okay, see you tomorrow at 10 for Dunkin!
These texts and others are pretty common in my phone on the weekends. Especially in college, every Friday night this was almost always the last text I sent before crawling into bed. Texting friends we had been with earlier in the night was a routine that our group never really established, just did instinctively out of concern for each others safety. Obviously going to school in a tiny college town in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania is very different then living in the Big Apple. Attending Bucknell definitely put my parents at ease, always made me feel safe, and it was a place where I could walk anywhere at any time of day and not have to worry. Now that I am no longer in the “Bucknell Bubble,” things have definitely changed.
Making the move to New York city has come with a lot of changes. New restaurants, new routes to work, and unfortunately new safety concerns. Since moving here I have definitely tried to be more cognizant of my surroundings. I have to remember that unfortunately bad things do happen, and I always want to be aware.
Recently, I had an incident that immediately raised red flags for me. I had worked later than usual one night and went down to the subway to head home like I do every day. As I was waiting on the platform a man walked past me, turned to look at me, then stopped, and chose to stand a few feet away. He then seemed to looked me up and down and moments later moved a few steps closer to me on the platform. I could not tell you why, but something about it was very unsettling. He didn’t do anything wrong per se, but something just seemed off. I am a big believer in trusting your gut, and at that moment it was clear that my gut wanted me to get away. A few moments later the subway pulled up, and it stopped in front of me right between two cars. So basically I had two options, go left or right. The man was on my left, so I decided to go right. He started to go to the left car, saw me move towards the right, than followed me onto the right subway car. Again, nothing bad, just made me a little bit more nervous. I was smushed between people but managed get off at my stop and make my way out of the subway quickly and onto the street. This man was not following me, but something about the whole trip home had put me very on edge. As I power walked home it got me thinking, when I go to work there is tons of security, but what about at night?
What would I have done if he had followed me off the subway?
Do I go to a restaurant and tell someone working there that I am being followed?
Do I call the police?
Do I grab a cab and tell the driver to go quickly in any direction?
These were very unsettling thoughts that of course snowballed in my mind.
In comes BlueLight! For those college students and recent post grads out there, I am sure you know those blue light lamp posts that are all over college campuses. The ones you all secretly wanted to play blue light tag with? Well, BlueLight is an app that creates these blue light posts wherever you go. BlueLight is a safety service that empowers users to move about the world with confidence by providing easy-to-use tools for personal safety, for everyday as well as emergency use.
The BlueLight app has two main functions:
- Request Help – Calling and sending your location to the nearest emergency services with the tap of a button. Dozens of college campuses currently participate, and new ones can be added within a day if requested.
- On My Way – A feature which allows you to share your location with contacts (while on a road trip, walking in the dark, on the way to meet someone etc.), including a destination at which location sharing will automatically turn off and notify your friends/family etc of your arrival.
The first function is pretty clear, but what makes it unique is your phone’s GPS capabilities. When you dial 911 from a mobile phone as you would make any other call, the operator cannot determine your location quickly and accurately. BlueLight can get you help faster by routing your call to the closest emergency responder — whether that’s 911, Campus Safety or Ski Patrol — and displaying your current address to read off to the dispatcher.
I think the second, On My Way, function is what makes this app a perfect match for all college students and post grads alike. Instead of having to text friends that I made it home safe, I can simply choose their contact as one that receives an update when I get to my door. I like that friends can track your progress in real time, which is very helpful when walking home late at night. And if you’re mom is anything like mine, it is useful for when you make long road trips alone. So instead of accidentally forgetting to tell her I made it to my destination, she can simply check my progress on the app!
The final feature that makes this app even easier to use, is that you can add BlueLight to your Android lock screen or iOS Today view for two tap access to safety features, anytime, anywhere. This will connect you to emergency services or your contacts at a moments notice.
BlueLight is available on Android & iOS through the App Store and is free!
Since downloading this app I have already used it multiple times. It’s great because I can go about my day to day life, but its nice to know that should anything happen I can connect with emergency services immediately. I cannot recommend this app enough and truly believe that it is a must for all collegiate women and city dwellers alike! BlueLight allows me to take my safety into my own hands, which is the perfect fit for a newbie New Yorker.
Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by BlueLight via Her Campus Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of BlueLight.