College students are dying all over the nation from deaths that could have been prevented. It maybe too late to warn those already past, but it’s not too late to save a life starting with your own by taking preventive measures to stay safe.
Orson Scott Card, a famous science fiction author of books such as “Lost Boys,” said, wisely “Everybody dies. What matters is what you do between now and when it happens to you.”
It’s not a shocking fact that eventually everyone dies. It’s something that is accepted as part of the cycle of life, but living to the fullest and taking preventive actions to protect yourself allows you the chance to truly live. Skyler Miller, Missouri Western sophomore, thinks you can never be too careful.
“Everyone should know how to be safe because anything can happen to anyone at anytime,” Miller said. “I know I would rather be safe than sorry. Students should realize safety should be taken seriously.”
According to data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics most deaths occur due to preventable circumstances. Here are the top five deaths that occur in college-age students that could possibly be prevented by practicing safety measures.
Car accidents account for 30 percent of deaths in college students and is the number one cause of death. At least four people involved in car accidents die every hour. The main causes of accidents are reckless and negligent driving, and alcohol. These accidents can easily be prevented by paying attention to the road and slowing down. Even if students need to do a mad dash to get to work on time, it’s better to call the job and explain the situation, than speed and have an accident. Arriving alive is worth being a couple minutes late. Many college students talk on the phone while driving, which could become a fatal habit. Hands-free mobile maybe safer than holding a mobile, but it still can hinder concentration. The best thing to do is pull over and text, call back or even note to call back when you are off the road. One of the most preventable ways to not be in or cause an accident is to never drive while intoxicated or on drugs. This might sound like common sense, but even one beer can hinder judgment and attentiveness to the road. Not only could you get a DWI from drinking and driving, but you are playing a game of Russian roulette with your life. Missouri Western Chief of Police, Jon Kelley, thinks that it is very important to practice safe driving habits.
“I would say there are typically three main reasons for the majority of accidents on campus 1.) No doubt the main reason for accidents is inattention by the driver(s). 2.) Speed: both on the street and in the lots. 3.) Failure to yield the right of way to other vehicles; this would include stopping when required,” Kelley said.
Homicide is the second leading cause of student death at 17.3 percent. Statistics show that 80 percent of campus crime is student on student. Don’t ever assume you are safe, because danger could be lurking right around the corner where you least expect it. You should always take precautions to make yourself safe. Always walk in well-lit areas, tell a friend where you are going and never walk alone. Another good practice is having emergency numbers on speed dial and carrying pepper spray. There is also the option of investing in a security system like a portable alarm or a portable door lock. Both are good investments considering they could potentially save your life and warn you of an intruder.
Suicide claims 12.9 percent of college students’ lives. Steve Potter, counselor at Missouri Western, said if someone you know is showings signs of suicide–which include lack of energy, withdrawal from activities, sadness and anger, or other signs that may lead you to believe they are considering harming themselves–don’t be afraid to approach them with the subject. It is a misconception that it would give them the idea.
“Whatever you do, don’t handle it alone,” Potter said. “Never promise to keep it a secret. It is better to tell someone and have them angry, than dead.”
Students who abuse alcohol and drugs are more likely to commit suicide because of their impaired sense of judgement. Students who think about or commit suicide do not usually have a form of mental illness, but many times are overcome with sadness or desperation. The best thing to do if you are considering suicide is to get help.
The counseling services at Western are not only for academic counseling, but are also available to offer guidance for any personal needs.
Cancer takes the lives of 5.3 percent of college-age students. Overall the most deadly form of cancer is pancreatic. Pancreatic cancer is a rare but very deadly form of cancer. Lung cancer is also a highly deadly form of cancer and is much more common. Cigarette smoking is the number one undisputed cause of lung cancer and each year, over 170,000 Americans develop lung cancer. The best way to prevent any type of cancer is with regular check ups and testing. Women should have annual pap smear, a highly effective test for cervical cancer. A regular pelvic exam is also necessary for all women to take to avoid Gynecologic cancers. Women who have a high risk of breast cancer are also urged to have an annual mam-mogram. Men should consider taking a prostate exam after the age of 35 and definitely earlier if it is in their family history. Men should also have a monthly self tentacular examination and have a yearly checkup for tentacular cancer. The best way to up your survival rate with cancer is to catch it early.
Heart Disease comes in fifth and only takes 3.5 percent of college age students, but it is a rising problem in youth today. Sandy Kemerling, RN at Missouri Western, says the best way to prevent heart disease is checking your family history.
“If there is a history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart disease, then make sure to take those into account before eating a cheeseburger and french fries every other day and drinking soda,” Kemerling said. “Not thinking about what you are doing to your body and making your heart work harder than it really has to- -you may not see the effects today, but a few years down the road it is going to catch up with you.”