Birth Control On A Christian Campus

3 Truths Behind Women’s Healthcare On A Christian College Campus

Equal access may not really be all that equal.

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Women's healthcare and their ability to not only chose what is best for their body but even have the ability to access the necessary medical care has been a debate in the recent political climate. This discussion has been brought about by America's rediscovery of Religion within its leadership. While we are becoming again "one nation under God" we are also becoming one nation with limited options.

I had always separated myself from the healthcare crisis that women are facing because I had always had the luxury of private insurance, parents willing to let me make my own decisions, and doctors that aided me on finding out what worked best for my body. However, moving away from home I have realized that not everyone is as fortunate and that it can be easy to be put in a situation where the necessary healthcare isn't readily available.

Like most college students, I frequent the on-campus health center whether it's for a cold, a flu shot, or even my monthly dose of birth control. I never figured that attending college on a Christian campus would impact the ways I could take care of myself and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The healthcare provided to me in the recent months has been tinged with a judgmental overtone of religious superiority. Growing up Catholic, my childhood was about as religious as it got but being exposed to belittling ideas behind how a woman should take care of her body was a new realm that frankly made me uncomfortable.

1. “Why are you taking birth control, it’s not only for contraceptive use right?”

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Walking into the health center for my first round of birth control this year, I was faced with this question. Although it is perfectly normal for a healthcare provider to ask why a patient may be considering birth control, it is not normal to imply that using birth control only as a contraceptive is wrong. Although I do use birth control to manage chronic ovarian cysts in addition to using it as a contraceptive, women across campus should not feel bad for utilizing the pregnancy prevention aspects of birth control. This judgment can often sway a woman from protecting herself during sex for the fear of going against her faith, as many providers in the on-campus health center imply

2. “Have you ever considered abstinence as a form of birth control?"

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When my close friend attempted to begin a birth control regiment this year, she was asked this. As a college health care center it is their job to equip students with the best forms of protection for practicing safe sex as it inevitably will occur and promoting abstinence above all else only encourages ignorance. When abstinence is taught as the only method of pregnancy prevention, it ironically leads to more pregnancy and even sexually transmitted diseases as young college students are not aware on how to practice safe sex nor do they feel comfortable enough to ask how to go about it.

3. "Are you sure this isn’t just an STD?”

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Recently, I went into the health center after experiencing the symptoms of a kidney infection; painful urination and lower back pain. Before even asking if I was sexually active, the health care provider questioned if I was just dealing with something along the lines of gonorrhea or chlamydia. I am not sure if this was based upon the way I was dressed or my gender but I was alarmed that without asking preliminary questions they would just assume I was sick due to an STD. After running a test and discovering that it was a kidney infection, they reinforced that "when" I do contract an STD I should come in right away.

It is discouraging as a young woman on a Christian campus that I am not able to obtain the same medical care with the same discretion and sensitivity that someone on a non-religious campus or of a different gender could get. Teaching abstinence and shaming safe sex will only create a culture of oblivion. Additionally, intentional slut-shaming on the basis of a patient's health concerns is yet again unprofessional and discourages students from coming in for medical care. Christian Campuses should not implement their religious beliefs when dealing with a student's health as for many, on-campus health centers are their only option for medical care and each student is entitled to the same level of care regardless of their religious beliefs, sexual practices, or gender.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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How To Avoid Getting Sick Your  Freshman Year

It's going to take a little more than an apple a day.

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College is the prime time and place to catch a cold... or worse. Although, somehow I managed to crack the code to health and not get sick my whole first year of college. This is surprising considering I was living in the close (and very unsanitary) quarters of a dorm room.

1. Keep your diet somewhat healthy

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I know how hard it is to eat healthy in college, especially on a low budget. But with the dining hall foods, you can at least include some vegetables and fruits into your everyday consumption. The vitamins in these foods will help keep your immune system up and it will be worth the effort.

2. Try to exercise a few times per week

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Even if you're just getting out of the dorm for a thirty minute walk, it will benefit your body. If you decide to up your routine from that, even better! The more endorphins, the more you will feel better inside and out.

3. Cut back on the drinking if you feel a cold coming on

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Surprisingly, many college students don't seem to know that alcohol lowers your immune system. Of course, for some people theres no way of avoiding drinking. But if you can at least give your body rest days, it will be extremely beneficial.

4. Invest in a dehumidifier for your dorm room

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I believe this was a very big player in helping me not get sick. The dehumidifier helps reduce dust and other particles in the air. This will help not agitate your allergies and you will feel more clear headed.

5. Try not to share personal products

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Sharing things like towels, makeup, unwashed cups, etc. can all be causes of a sickness being passed around you and your friends. Of course sharing is caring, just make sure it's sanitary.

6. Be conscientious of who you kiss!

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Make sure that your girlfriend, boyfriend, or "its complicated" person is not sick before you're getting cozy with them.

7. Drink lots of green tea!

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Personally, I credit green tea and its anti-oxidants for keeping the flu away and even getting rid of bugs that might be forming in your system. So if you feel like you might be developing a cold, chug that tea!

I know how annoying these tips may be. But I promise, if you implement at least a few it could reduce your chances of feeling horrible during midterms in the winter, and sneezing all over your finals in the fall.

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