Opinion: On abortion, weed and STDs

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When applying to college, most students assume that they will learn everything about everything. The movies that influence us showcase college students and graduates with Einstein-level vocabulary and rapid-fire knowledge about what is going on in the world. So naturally, when seniors in high school fill out that application, they believe that – like the characters on our favorite shows – we will be injected with the knowledge of the world.  

When I – a first-generation college student – first set foot on campus, I thought that I was 10 times smarter than anyone else I knew. Throughout my first year and a half of my second, I have been quickly humbled by those around me. Although I have been learning more about certain subjects like Fundamentals of Law and such, I have felt I have no idea what is going on right now in the world.  

When I walk into Sverdrup Hall to catch a glimpse of the news, I would feel swallowed by the events taking forth in the world that I had no idea about. The more and more research I did on a subject, the more puzzled I became about why it was not automatically taught in classes.  

For example, did you know most American adults between the ages of 18 and 40 want marijuana legalized? I know I didn’t! The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how much my fellow Gorloks knew.  

I quickly created a quiz on issues that affect our modern world, how they affected our generation. The questions ranged from what age people began smoking marijuana to sexually transmitted diseases to abortion. The test consisted of 15 questions, five for each topic. After each test, I interviewed the respondents.    

“A lot of the questions that were on the test were things that I had never learned in school; the things I did know, I learned from social media,” Tee Coffman, a sophomore psychology major, told me.  

With the June 2022 Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the aftermath affects college students the most. On average, studies show college students are most likely to have at least one abortion during their four years in school. Unfortunately, this has become extremely complicated with the new bans on abortion.  

“Abortion should be legal and safe, just because you can’t legally get them doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to happen, they just won’t be safe,” Webster sophomore Nyah Lee said when asked how she felt about the bans.  

Switching the topic to global diseases, most students know about and talk about headline-grabbing outbreaks like COVID or Ebola. Not a lot of people think of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as global epidemics, but they are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC says that, while reported cases of STDs decreased during the pandemic, most resurged by the end of 2020, with cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and congenital syphilis surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels.   

Many people our age think that it wouldn’t ever happen to them, so they become lax in their health safety. It only takes one time, and then you’re not only spending more money on health services, but even more seriously, you’re having to deal with a potentially chronic disease.   

“When we learned about STDs in sex education in high school, we didn’t know the numbers of those affected or the ways to treat it, it was more ‘don’t have sex and you won’t get infected,’” survey participant Aaliyah Simmons, a sophomore biological science major, said. 

With the cost of tuition and overall cost of living on the rise, there is no reason that the education that we receive should leave us ignorant of what is going on in the world. I implore you, dear reader, to go out and learn three new current events and inform yourself on how it affects the world around you!  

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Bird Baker
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