“No one is ready to be sexually active until they have sat down and discussed in detail what both people will do if a pregnancy occurs,” said Dr. Friar, professor of biology.
If a pregnancy occurs? Maybe some students have had a scare or two, but an actual pregnancy? How many face that reality? More than one would think. One of those students is Jaymie Burkle, a 21-year-old senior in public relations.
“I was really excited, but I knew it was going to be tough. I was nervous; how was I going to juggle going to school full time and taking care of my son? It’s definitely about organization, prioritizing all those things, and keeping my son first,” said Burkle.
Many students don’t consider outcomes other than pleasure with sex. College is a time of exploration, freedom, excitement, and new relationships. But according to Friar, a huge issue is that the average college student is 18-22 years of age, and this period is when sexual desire is rising most rapidly. With marriage ages much higher than they used to be, many engage in sexual practices before they have a stable partner and don’t use a method of birth control until a pregnancy scare occurs.
To address the many aspects of not only sex but healthy relationships, Dr. Friar will be presenting Sex and the College Student on Thursday, Sept. 22. Dr. Friar was asked to speak in 2005, and has been presenting ever since.
Zachary Walters, a freshman in pre-pharmacy, is required to attend the presentation as an honors freshman. Walters’ greatest concern is that people take sex lightly and give up their virginity without realizing its value, disregarding the relationship involved.
“I’m expecting the presentation to be reasons why you shouldn’t do it, and if you absolutely must, ways in which you can be careful about going in that direction. It’s probably a lot of what we’ve already heard,” said Walters.
While Friar does cover various topics such as STDs and safe sex, his greater emphasis is his teaching of healthy relationships. Friar feels most students don’t do a lot of thinking about what kind of relationship they want and what they desire in a significant other. Friar referenced an old saying: “Those that don’t know what they want normally get what they don’t want.”
“Between the ages of 16 and 25, most persons make two important decisions: career choice, and life time partner,” said Friar. “Unfortunately, the brain does not develop the ability to make wise choices until age 22 to 25. As a result of making poor choices, this is a contributing factor to why young people get involved in sex when they really shouldn’t.”
Burkles’ personal experience testified to this, stressing that students should be fully aware of their own values, morals, and goals instead of conforming to others, what’s cool, or what’s “normal.”
“Being in college doesn’t mean you have to have sex; it doesn’t mean that you have to party. First and foremost you are here for your education,” said Burkle.
Despite her circumstances, Burkle has taken the situation with a positive attitude, making the choice to be a responsible and loving mother. She’s found great comfort and support in God, her church family, and her friends, and does her best to spend quality time with her child. Burkle has attended Sex and the College Student herself, and highly recommends attending.
“It’s extremely important, especially for freshmen. I feel they come on campus and a lot of them have no idea what kind of influences they can come across, such as alcohol and drugs. They then face the question, ‘how do I handle these kinds of situations when it comes down to sex?’” said Burkle.
“Every right has a responsibility and if you have a right to be sexually active, you have the responsibility to protect your partner and yourself from any undesirable consequences,” said Friar.
Sex and the College Student will be presented Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. For more information, contact Shelly VandePanne at firstname.lastname@example.org.