College Students: Bullying Support
Bullying is something we often associate with middle and high school students and isn't often thought about or discussed in colleges, but it does happen. It may even be more common than we think. Unlike bullying in middle school and high school, many college students face bullying alone, without the support of family and friends nearby. College students, especially freshman, are often moving into dorms and with other people for the first time and must now act independently, something they aren't used to doing. In college, it's also harder for a student to escape the bullying, especially if they are a roommate, live in the same dorm, or have shared classes together.
College students also must deal with the possibility of hazing, which still occurs on some college campuses from time to time. While most of the time, hazing occurs within fraternities and sororities, sometimes other groups participate in hazing, including sports teams and other campus groups. Hazing can be especially dangerous, illegal, and can have long term consequences.
It's imperative to remember that bullying is never your fault. The fact that someone chose to pick on you is not okay and often says more about them, than it does you.
Steps To Get Help When Being Bullied In College
1. Understand that it's not your fault. There is no need to feel embarrassed about being bullied as you likely haven't done anything wrong. Don't blame yourself or feel that you are less than your bully or classmates. Bullies are often insecure themselves and take that out on people they deem as less confrontational or quiet. Try not to let the bully convince you that you are what they say you are, even though it's hard. You know the real you. Also, don't feel like you need to change into the person the bully says you should be. It's important to stay true to who you are. be true, be you, be kind.
2. Never retaliate. Although you may want revenge and may think they deserve it after treating you badly, it will never work out. Responding aggressively won't make your situation any better and could even land you into trouble. Often times, bullies are trying to provoke you for a reaction, don't give them that. Stand up for yourself, and stand your ground without being confrontational and without yelling as this may anger the bully more which can lead to unknown behavior.
3. Document everything. In case this continues and school officials or police are involved, document everything that happens. Tales notes of what they do and say in person, and save everything that happens online.
4. Tell someone. Tell a friend, family member, or trusted school official. This can help you feel supported and also allows someone else to be aware of the situation in case it gets worse or progresses.
5. Take steps online and on social media to protect yourself. Starting with blocking the bully and changing your accounts to private may be a good start. This will keep your life and posts more private.
6. Report the situation to the police and school officials. If the bullying persists or affects your mental health, or if the bullying includes threats, stalking, or harassment, contact the police or school safety officials. Proper documentation will go a long way in reporting this to the proper officials and authorities.
7. Remember that it's not your fault. Bullying does happen in college and it needs to be discussed and adddress more in todays society so that we can protect college students' mental health and self-esteem.