opinion

As college students, we’re used to neglecting our personal needs. Endless nights of studying and partying comes with the job description, and we tend to remove taking care of our health from the equation.

In light of recent events, we ask that you make yourself a priority.

The world is a dangerous place, especially when you’re surrounded by people that may not agree with you. We recently published an editorial explaining the dangers of activism and having an opinion, but now we would like to address the ways in which you can protect yourself while speaking your mind.

Protests are a great way to make your opinion heard, but they are also great places to get hurt in the process. Many students have yet to experience the true nature of a protest, and the ones planned against Donald Trump Jr.’s speech might be one of the most difficult places to start.

So how do you adequately prepare for a protest?

Organizers want to ensure that students are cared for on the day of the protest, said #CHOMPTRUMP spokesperson Jovanna Liuzzo. Participants can expect water stations, cool-down stations, a medic and possibly even a legal observer on site. Liuzzo said the student’s safety is one of their top priorities. 

Seeing that UF failed to establish any of these services in recent protests, this level of concern can’t be expected from the university — unless keeping students safe equates to spending $500,000 on security, according to Campus Reform. 

Despite the precautions in place, it is not the sole responsibility of UF or the protest organizers to ensure your safety. There are some simple measures that you can take to ensure sure you leave happy, healthy and satisfied with your public showcase of mild anarchy.

Family and friends are important, especially when there is a potential for you to get hurt. Before you participate in a protest, make sure someone knows where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing. 

This one should be obvious, but make sure to stay hydrated. You can’t stop corruption if you’re thirsty, and you certainly can’t make a statement if you pass out. 

If, by chance, you see someone else pass out, make sure to help them. We are our own best assets. Looking out for another person could potentially save their life, or at least save them from an expensive medical bill. 

Of course, using only these few tips won’t always work. When we are faced with people who have an ideology that goes against our own, things tend to get hostile. Don’t let your feelings overwhelm you. Try to think about the situation, your surroundings and what you truly want to accomplish. 

You might be fighting for a cause, but it would be nothing without people to back it up.

The Editorial Board consists of Zora Viel, Opinions Editor; Amanda Rosa, Editor-in Chief; Kelly Hayes, Digital Managing Editor; and Tranelle Maner, Engagement Managing Editor.