Safe Views: Annie Stauffer on mental & emotional dangers

Photo courtesy of Annie Stauffer

This guest column is a part of our Safe Views series, where Transy students share their views on how they feel safe, and unsafe, on Transy’s campus. Student writers responded to the question, “Do you feel safe on Transy’s campus?” and they approached that question from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints. This guest column is written by first-year Annie Stauffer. (Disclosure: Ms. Stauffer also writes for The Rambler as a staff contributor). 

Safety on college campuses is something every student wants, but often doubts is realistic. For most students, it is their first time living on their own. Moving away from home and being placed into a new setting can make one feel anxious and scared. These emotions are heightened because of the risks of danger so commonly seen taking place on college campuses across the country. However, Transy offers something very unique in the way of safety–a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone. With this community oriented environment, Transy creates a more comforting approach to on-campus safety and slightly diminishes the stereotypical college experience.

Safety on college campuses, especially for women, is a very large concern. Statistics say that one in five women are sexually assaulted on college campuses. This ratio is quite disturbing and leaves many women feeling on edge just walking to classes or walking to their cars. In a way, it strips people of their independence, which is highly unjust. Since Transy is a smaller university, there is a better chance of knowing the person that is walking behind you or living across the hall from you. Although I believe this level of comfort contributes to Transy’s safety, I do not believe it fixes the looming problem of feeling unsafe. This trusting, comfortable environment Transy provides makes it tempting to not pay attention to your surroundings and to get stuck in a dangerous situation you never dreamed you would be in.

Along with physical danger being a concern, there is also emotional endangerment that appears on college campuses. Being surrounded by your peers twenty-four/seven can be exhausting, especially for introverted people. It can also narrow your scope and shape your mind into processing thought in only one way–the process all your peers have. Smaller campuses often create an atmosphere so united that people get stuck in the status-quo even if it goes against their beliefs or wants. This can cause severe emotional damage and loss of identity. Transy’s academics offer the platform for a variety of students to share their differing opinions on important topics in the world. However, does this approach and encouragement of diversity spread itself throughout student’s social interactions on campus as well?

Mental danger is a growing concern on campuses too. Being bogged down with homework assignments involving presentations, essays, worksheets, and assigned readings along with extracurricular activities, having a healthy social life, and going through the difficulties of living on your own for the first time is a lot for one person to handle. This amount of stress does not give students a fair shot to succeed highly in each realm. When you have a single toe dipped in each of these categories, the likelihood of being extraordinary in each one is very slim. This creates the mindset in many students that they are failing when they are simply human beings trying to do the best they can.

Transy does create a unified on-campus experience that allows students to feel a bit safer in a culture where danger on collegiate campuses is a normal fear. However, this unity does not cancel out the stifling fact that many students feel they are in physical, emotional, and mental danger on college campuses. Transy does its best to provide a safe, comforting environment for all students, but it is still a university that is prone to these dangers just like any other campus. Although I consider Transy my new home filled with many people I care about, I cannot help but to still feel this quiet sense of worry I must carry around with me everyday because I am on a college campus.