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2017 Scholarship Winners
2017 2nd Semester Winning Essay
Written by: Kacey Bodden of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
My name is Kacey Bodden and I am currently a senior Speech-Language Pathology Major at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. I have been in a relationship for almost three years now, and we are both very adamant about safe sex practices. I am also the president of a large organization on campus, so I know a thing or two about leadership. Using my leadership skills, I can advocate for safe sex, its benefits, the repercussions of unprotected sex, and how we can work together to improve safer sex practices for students all over the country.
“I won’t be needing those!”, “Those aren’t big enough for me!”, “I pull out.”; these are just some of the things said to me when I volunteered to hand out free condoms with our campus Drug & Alcohol Wellness program. It was disappointing to see how many students refused to take free protection because of their ignorance and some even felt too awkward accepting something related to sex. These personalities and feelings are what continues to grow the STI rates among students. The CDC estimates that about 10 million people between age 15 and 24 contract an STI every year and only 12% will get tested.
With the continual rise of social media and apps that make it easy to meet up with new people and have new experiences, we as students must continue to learn and educate others on the importance of safe sex. A single “innocent hook up” could change your life forever. Without the proper protection a student could bring serious harm to their health with sexual transmitted diseases such as Herpes, HPV, Chlamydia, and several forms of Hepatitis. For women like myself this could cause infertility in our bodies. It would be heartbreaking to me if I couldn’t start my family later on in life because of a mistake in college. Speaking of families, without the proper protection, students may be starting their own before they were ready. More than 2 million girls in the age group mentioned earlier become pregnant each year. Of those students in college, less than 10% will go on to complete their college degree.
These aforementioned consequences are costly to a financially struggling student and will change your future forever. The price of condoms is far less than their value. Simply the idea of a condom being 99% effective in protecting against HIV should be enough for every sexually active student. Beyond that, now-a-days they make condoms in all different sensations, sizes, textures and even flavors. Every student is different and finding the right condom or other protection that is right for them can take some time but it will keep them healthy and allow them to stay focused on their schooling. In the end, college may be about getting an education and growing our career but at the same time we are all aware of the sexually active environment every college has.
I am confident that my fellow students will find the benefits of protected sex is in their best interest. We are all in living in this environment and every student should be prepared every night to protect themselves. We can’t rely on “I’m sure he has one” or “I pull out” to keep ourselves protected. One night, one quick experience, one “I’m sure I’ll be fine” could have lasting effects on our life and careers.
We must continue to protect ourselves and educate others on the importance of safe sex until we live in a world where the beginning statements of this essay are no longer said and students take the potential consequences serious.