Picture, if you will, your first trip to a tanning bed. You’re lying in your overheated space shuttle when the lack of fresh air starts to make you feel a little anxious. Your breathing becomes strained and raspy, and before you know it, you’re hyperventilating. This, of course, freaks you out, I mean, come on, you think you’re dying, so as the fear overtakes your body, you feel a warm sensation encompass your body. Immediately, you recognize the scent as urine and realize because you are lying in a microwave, instead of standing, you have actually just immersed yourself in the yellow liquid. You can already feel your legs and inner thighs begin to chap.
Undoubtedly, the stench from the urine causes you to become sick to your stomach, and you end up vomiting and choking on half-chewed Captain Crunch. Not only does the cereal cut the roof of your mouth on the way up, but you surely die. Several hours later you are found burnt to a crisp completely shriveled drenched in your own body fluid, and in case you’ve forgotten, completely NAKED! What a sight, what a smell.
The above passage wasn’t a scene from a very poorly-written scary movie, but instead my theory concerning the dangers of tanning. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I was willing to put my preconceived notions aside and find out for myself what tanning was really all about.
During my first trip to the Tannery, the owner took time out of her day to explain how the whole ordeal really worked. Apparently, burning to death isn’t an option because the beds turn off automatically. Likewise, the bed does not close completely, and even if it did, it’s not required to close the lid all the way. And as far as the hyperventilating and wetting myself, at anytime a person is free to get out of the bed to go to the bathroom, get a paper bag or even call it quite early. It soon became obvious that my entire tanning theory was completely bogus.
Regardless of how it may appear, I don’t have a contract with Professional Body Works or the Tannery. I am by no means promoting tanning but instead encouraging students to expose themselves to new experiences and people before they pass judgment. We all have preconceived notions about certain situations, people and events. These assumptions are generally based on a bad experience, hearsay, misinterpretations and other such sources. While there may be truth in some of our theories, there’s an equal chance that our ideas are based on faulty information.
As college students we are given ample opportunity to immerse ourselves in a multitude of experiences and people. CAB and intramurals provide us with activities ranging from low-cost snowboarding to lectures on culture and diversity. In any given week we have the chance to help underprivileged children, attend concerts, movies and sporting events at discounted cost, protect our environment and if we have time, meet a political leader.
By taking part in these endeavors we become more knowledgeable and gain respect for other people and activities. Intuition is an important component in judgment, but it becomes even more powerful when backed with experience and facts. And you know what they say happens when you assume something.