Yes, I am a Female College Student, and Yes, I am Pro-Life

Yes, I Am A Female College Student, And Yes, I Am Pro-Life

You CAN be both.

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As a 20-something-year-old woman at a liberal arts college, I often find myself on the not-so-popular end of pro-choice or pro-life debates.

And, if I'm being completely honest, I generally try to avoid those debates altogether. But this past weekend, some of my fellow students, three buses of students from my old high school (including my little sister), and millions of people from across the country marched in Washington D.C. and all over the country in support of the pro-life movement.

While I went twice in high school and found it to be one of the most formative experiences of my life (it definitely made the way into a few of my college admittance essays), I wasn't able to attend the march this year. But in solidarity with my friends and family, I want them to know - and the whole world to know — that they are not alone in their fight for life.

Growing up in 13 years of Catholic schooling, I never got to hear the opposing side of the pro-life debate. Sure, I knew what pro-choice was, but in all honesty, it was a kind of vague, somewhat demonized stance that I didn't understand. Major talk in devils-advocate scenarios were always the extreme cases that people make for abortion like incest or rape, not real-life (common) critiques that would be valuable to learn to talk about.

Coming to college — and a liberal arts, non-religiously affiliated one at that — definitely made me grow up pretty quick and realize that, at least it would seem like I was the minority opinion, not the majority. And as anyone who has led a sheltered life to be confronted with the world can attest: it was not a comfortable eureka moment. In my first year of college, I was faced with a decision: I, after 13 years of school and four years in a pro-life club, could slowly remove myself from the debate and remain quietly pro-life or I could change my opinion to be popular with my peers. While I am proud to say that I didn't conform to the latter, I'm not necessarily proud to say that I did the former either.

During my freshman year, I joined Butler's pro-life club, Bulldogs for Life. (Yes, when I say the name to people out of context, they tell me it's nice that I care about dogs, and are then generally turned off when I explain that it's pro-life.) It was a small club, with inconsistent meeting times, and only about 10 members at each meeting. I, reluctantly, admit that in that year I probably only went to about five meetings and didn't go to almost any of the "engagement" activities. I was scared. There was such a stigma about being pro-life that I didn't even know existed. It went from quickly from an argument and stance that I made primarily through religion, to almost not being able to utilize these lines of argument because the people I was dialoguing with didn't even adhere to the same religion as me. It wasn't until my junior year that I felt really comfortable talking to my peers about my beliefs.

While I've always been taught and raised to believe that I could do and be anything I wanted to be — regardless of my gender — I was confronted with the idea that because I didn't believe in a woman's right to choose to murder her own child before it was born, I was against ALL women's rights. People where implicitly arguing that I didn't believe that women had the right to control their own lives. I believe that a woman doesn't have the right to choose whether a child lives or dies. We would be horrified if a woman killed her infant baby a few months after birth, but people go on Women's Marches lobbying for the right to do the same a few months before the birth.

Moving from a part of the body to the outside world doesn't make someone human, and that's basically, in a crude nutshell, what the difference is between a baby being in the womb and not. I know that there are plenty of lines of debate about what actually makes someone human. That is not possibly a debate that I could write in an "Odyssey" article to satisfy anyone. What I can do is say I FIRMLY believe that a child is a child from the moment it is conceived by its parents, and that baby should have the right to live the same to any other human being like you and me right now.

I don't expect to change the world with this article. I don't even expect that many people to agree with me. But please know, all of you high school students who went on the March for Life: it WILL get harder. When you graduate and move on to college, you will be faced with a choice to stand up and stick to what you believe or to quietly wait on the sidelines. You may feel pressured to not voice or even change your opinion. I hope that all of you know — and all the college students too — that there are people out there that believe that women can have it all, and ALL their children can, too.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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