How 'Public' Do Our Public Universities Really Need To Be?

How 'Public' Do Our Public Universities Really Need To Be?

I don't feel safe, do you?

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College campuses are breeding grounds for anyone who wants to exercise their free speech. I did not realize how easy it was for the general public to walk onto our college campus without anyone blinking an eye until I got here. It is commonplace to see whole families, people with dogs, etc. walking through campus. The average college doesn't pay attention to who we're walking by or worry about who they are... and why would we? It's a college campus; we're never going to know everyone so seeing an unfamiliar face isn't particularly alarming. The times we do pay attention to who is on campus, however, is when they are yelling and disrupting our day when we're just trying to get to class.

In recent weeks, there have been several strangers walking onto campus in the form of two bigoted faux-Christian groups and an anti-abortion group playing live abortion videos in the middle of campus. All three of these groups have engaged in yelling at and harassing students, targeting women and LGBTQ+ folk with threats of rape and damnation to hell. When one faux-Christian group of old men occupied the steps of the education building, classes were canceled due to their disruption. When the anti-abortion group set up camp in the center of campus, they blocked walkways and were almost impossible to avoid.

Every time that I've wondered aloud to my friends, campus police, or the person next to me protesting why these people are allowed on campus, I'm met with the same answer: it's a public campus. While I understand that it's near impossible — and for the most part, unnecessary — to keep non-BG students or faculty off campus, I do not understand why the safety of students and faculty aren't prioritized over people who just want to walk onto campus to harass us. I pay money to live on-campus and receive an education, not to worry about threatening groups creating a dangerous space in the place I'm supposed to think of as my "home away from home."

These groups have permits and often alert the school as to when they will be on campus. So if the university has this knowledge, why aren't they at the very least giving paying students and dutiful faculty a heads up that these kinds of people will be on our campus? Why do they leave it up to us to walk into a potentially triggering or dangerous situation, to just be walking to class trying to get through the commotion and have an old man tell women that they're going to be raped because they're wearing shorts? (Yes, that really happened.)

The university owes it to us to keep students in the loop as to who is going to be on campus and why. And students of color/ LGBTQ+ folk shouldn't have to worry about being shut down for organizing their own protests if strangers who aren't contributing anything to our school are allowed to just walk on and cause a commotion without question. Free speech, anyone?

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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10 Reasons I Know I Found The Right One

Yes you can be engaged in college

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Before I begin, I would like to preface with saying that everyone is different and finds the "right one" at different times in each person's lives. For me, I was lucky enough to find the person I had always been looking for before I turned 24.

Through our happiness and hardships, I can say with 100% certainty that my fiance is the person that I was meant to end up with. Though your reasons for loving and living with someone may be completely different from mine, these reasons are the ones I hold dearest to my heart.

1. He values and respects me. 

I don't know if I am the only one who feels like this, but it's not every day you come by a man who not only respects you as a human being but also values your beliefs and opinions, especially when you are in your 20's.

On our first date, he opened his car door for me. I even remember telling him how much of a gentleman he was after doing that and his response was, "wait, really?".

And from that day on, I can't remember a time where he hasn't opened a door for me. He also encourages my beliefs, whether he believes in them or not. He is okay with the fact that I am more spiritual than religious. It is very refreshing to not have religion shoved down your throat as if you are doing life wrong.

2. He constantly encourages me to follow my dreams and goals.

It was almost 4 months ago where I quit my internship because it was negatively affecting my mental health. It was a corporate environment, and it took me less than a month to figure out that it was definitely not what I wanted. This internship was worth college credit that would have completed my degree plan to where I could graduate.

I left work crying and when I got home, I wasn't able to stop talking about how much I hated what I was doing. After I told my fiance that I wanted to quit, but wasn't sure we could live without a second income, he totally me to do it and we would make things work.

To this day, I am still grateful I did not stay at that internship, especially since the day after I quit, I received a call asking me to come interview at a non-profit that I was super passionate about.

3. The hard times have brought us unbelievably closer.

I can't even begin to count the number of hardships that we have dealt with together. From crazy exes to losing dogs to the struggle of purchasing a home...we have dealt with it all. If the first year of marriage is the hardest, then we are well prepared for it. I am truly grateful for all the hardships we have faced together.

They have shown us who we are as people and have allowed us to grow together. Without these difficult instances in life, I don't think our relationship would have strengthened as quickly as it did.

4. We ordered the same dish on our second date because it was both of our favorite.

If you live in Springfield, MO and you haven't ordered "The Greek" at Bambinos, then you are doing life wrong. This dish is both of our favorites and we didn't know it until the waitress took our order.

Not only did he allow me to order first, but we also ordered the same thing. Obviously, this isn't a groundbreaking reason, however, it was just a coincidence that made me smile and I still think about to this day.

5. I'm constantly bragging about him.

He is constantly doing things that leave me in awe and wanting to just tell the world how amazing he is. We recently bought a 100-year-old farmhouse and it ended up becoming a complete fixer-upper, where I got to channel my inner Joanna Gaines. This guy let me choose everything I wanted so that he could give me my dream home.

Once we had all the materials we needed, it seemed like he effortlessly put it all together to make us a home. I find myself constantly bragging about how I got so lucky to have found a man that is a hard worker, kind and gentle, and determined.

6. He is the most humble person I have ever met.

My future husband (omg!) never brags about his accomplishments or achievements...which is why he has me to do it for him. I have especially noticed it through our home's renovation process.

He has pretty much flipped this house in less than a month's time and I don't think I have ever heard him talking about everything's he has accomplished.

In addition to our large home project, he also helps raise cattle with his dad, works 40 hour weeks and still makes time to make me feel like the most special girl in the world.

7. He tells me I'm beautiful even when I'm feeling ugly.

Okay, ladies, let's be real. We all have those days where we look in the mirror, no matter how confident we are, and notice every single flaw on our face, every split end, the crookedness of your teeth, and so on. It happens.

Even on these days, he comes home and says "you look so pretty today". When I am unsure of myself, he reassures me and reminds me of the confident and independent woman I am.

8. When you know, you know.

When I met my fiance, our eyes locked together and I just had this feeling in my heart and tummy that this was going to be something really special. Awhile after, I talked to him about how I knew that night, and he told me that he knew then too.

9. We don't argue...we discuss. 

We have never had a serious argument. Like every couple, we bicker sometimes, but that is easy to laugh off. When we get upset at one another, or one of us has done something that the other does not appreciate, instead of participating in a screaming match, we sit down and make eye contact, while calmly discussing how the specific situation made us feel. In every relationship, communication is key, but effective communication is essential.

10. Every day is a new adventure with him. 

My favorite adventure to date would be the day that we saved a calf that I had found on his family's land while riding around on the 4-wheeler. It didn't belong to them and it was away from its mother and needed milk.

After hanging out and becoming friends with the baby cow, he put the calf on his shoulders and walked it to the neighbor's pasture where its mother was. Easily the best day of my life. I got to pet and love on a baby cow and I got to see my fiance in action.

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