Please… Use Protection!

By Victoria Sananikone, Editor in Chief

Photo by Victoria Sananikone

How would one begin the complete idiot’s guide to avoiding a pregnancy scare? The answer is simple: wear a condom. Not only are your chances of getting pregnant reduced drastically, you are also protecting yourself from STIs and HIV. Now, what would be the easiest, painless, selfless, most ethical way to avoid contracting COVID-19 or having a Covid scare? The answer is simple: Wear. A. Freaking. Mask. You will have a much lower chance of catching the virus, you’re containing your germs, and you are simply showing respect to those you will come into contact with, whether you are speaking to them directly or passing them on the sidewalk. You thought this article was going to be about sex, huh? Well, sorry to disappoint all of the raging hormonal college kids, and let’s face it, COVID-19 is the new pregnancy scare of 2020.

I’d like to give a quick thank you to Dr. Trask for teaching me about individualistic and collectivistic cultures last year in COMM Theory. These concepts have never been more apparent to me than during this pandemic. You’d think that the plethora of casualties and statistics regarding this virus would prompt people to wear their mask without a second thought– think again. America is so purely an individualistic society that we are walking this marathon of combatting the virus while other countries are trampling us in their sprint to eradicate the pandemic.

Collectivistic cultures (a few examples: Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, China): “a culture based on valuing the needs of a group or a community over the individual. Kinship, family, and community are extremely important. People tend to work together to create harmony and group cohesion is extremely valued. Individuals in a collectivist culture are likely to value what is good for the whole over what is good for one person.”

In other words, the countries whose Covid cases have dropped significantly since the start of this outbreak are focusing on the wellbeing of their country as a whole. They are taking the precautions that are needed to ensure that every individual will remain healthy.

Individualistic cultures (a few examples: United States, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Australia): a culture that has “prioritization or emphasis of the individual over the entire group. Individualistic cultures are oriented around the self, being independent instead of identifying with a group mentality.”

Let’s focus on the United States here. Basically, we’re a bunch of selfish buffoons who can’t fathom the idea of “muzzling” ourselves with a mask, so courtesy is off the table. No, not everyone is like that; there are many people out there who will do whatever they can for the wellbeing of our country. However, there are the individuals who refuse to wear a mask because they don’t see the point or it is simply an inconvenience for them. This is why it has been harder for us to beat this virus.

I, personally, do believe that McKendree is trying to do their best in ensuring that this virus does not spread. They have laid down strict rules that students may not like, but they are rules that must be followed if we desire to continue our classes in person on campus with one another.

“I know they are doing their best to deal with this appropriately,” public relations professor Dr. Rich Murphy said. “As with any crisis, we have to learn as we go, make corrections, and move forward. But I am incredibly proud of all of the faculty, staff and administration who are working tirelessly to make sure McKendree can continue to run. I am impressed with everything we accomplished over the summer. We are not perfect by any means, but, I saw quite a few McKendree folks rise to the occasion.”

When asked about the campus regulations from a student’s point of view, junior Hallie Dixon expressed her thoughts.

“I think McKendree is doing a decent job for the resources we have,” Dixon said. “I am thankful that we are on campus with some in person classes, but being on campus makes it hard to enforce social distancing. McKendree’s Covid policies are good, but not everyone is following them to the fullest and it is hard to track down on everyone who isn’t wearing a mask properly.”

Sophomore Sam Guffey pointed out the painful truth.

“It’s good that there are mandatory mask rules,” Guffey said. “But the rules about visitors are stupid. I understand that you want to regulate how many people are in a room. But, if I were to see my partner off campus, whatever they have, I’m going to bring back anyway. What’s stopping what they have getting back to me and spreading to others?”

I’ve seen many students on campus without masks on. A number of students have walked past me- closing the gap of six feet- without pulling their mask over their face. People are also hosting parties and going to bars. I get it, being young adults during a time like this is awful, and I’ll admit that I haven’t taken every precaution that I can, either. We all want to have fun and live our lives as college kids, but we are all in the same boat, and we have to be better.

Freshman Jordyn Waters voiced her feelings for beginning her first year of college during a pandemic.

“Not being able to get a full interactive education because we’re all on zoom is very different to what I’m used to learning,” Waters said. “As a freshman, I feel like I won’t get my full freshman experience and that’s something you only get once, so it’s kind of disappointing.”

As a university that has such a small student population, we need to think of each other during this pandemic. Dr. Murphy expressed his fears with the continuation of online classes.

“I worry about stigmatizing people who end up with COVID,” Murphy said. “I worry we will assume they did something wrong and treat them poorly. I always hope that during a crisis or pandemic, we will treat each other with respect and decency. But quite often, these things bring out the worst in us.”

McKendree, it is up to us to live as a collectivistic campus. Please, use protection. Please, wear your mask. We must do what we can to make sure this virus is controlled. The hybrid classes, the spaced-out tables, the rules about visiting dorm rooms, the command to wear masks around campus– they’re smart moves. But are these precautions good enough? Are they strong enough to face a virus that spreads like wildfire with a simple breath in one’s direction? Are we, as students, disciplined enough to follow these precautions? Only time will tell.


One thought on “Please… Use Protection!

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  1. Victoria, interesting ideas about individualistic vs collectivist cultures. If community spread is fueling the pandemic, then community action is required to combat it. Thanks for sharing.

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