In college, you'll definitely send, receive and store a lot of information on your computer. And living in a dorm only increases the chances that other people will have access to your computer. So, it's wise to take precautions to safeguard information you'd rather keep private. You can buy software that blocks unauthorized users from accessing your hard drive and removable storage disks, and that also converts files to read-only versions to keep them from being changed.
The same vigilance is needed if your computer is hooked up to a campus network. The school protects individual file storage space and e-mail accounts by requiring users to register their computers and to create passwords. Users have a concomitant responsibility: to change passwords, to log out when ending a session, and to take care where they save their data. For example, the plans for your programmable lawn mower that you save in your robotics team directory can be viewed by anyone with access to that directory.