OPINION | Donating plasma is not the way to make a quick buck

Donating plasma can seem like a great option for broke college students to make extra cash. Unless something goes wrong. 

Biolife’s opening offer is what draws people to them. You can make up to $900 in a month, which is more than some of us make at our actual jobs. 

That month, though, is physically and mentally draining for its participants. You’ll need to complete eight donations in one month to receive the full payment, with at least one day separating donations. There are a lot of risks that come with donating plasma, they explain them to you, but no one expects the unthinkable could happen to them.

My plasma donation experience wasn’t great: It was painful, exhausting and felt more like a chore than anything else. The technicians don’t seem to be experienced, and a lot of them were fresh out of high school.

Without the confidence of an experienced individual, they can make a lot of mistakes. More than once, they had to try multiple times to even find my vein, and instead of taking the needle out and trying again, they just wiggled it around in my arm trying to find a vein. 

If they can’t find it that way, they’ll go to the other arm only to do the same thing. After both arms have been poked and prodded, if they can’t find a vein, they deem you unfit to donate that day and send you home without payment. 

If they manage to find your vein and set up the donation, there’s a risk of the needle moving during the process. If that happens, when the machine starts returning your blood or saline to your vein, it will instead go into your arm. When this started happening to me, it took me five or six tries to catch someone’s attention. And at that point, a large hematoma started forming on my arm. 

They tell you about the risks of forming a hematoma, but no one ever expects it to actually happen to them. The bruise started at the crease of my arm and ended next to my armpit. I couldn’t lift my arm without sending a sharp pain up to my shoulder, and it lasted for three weeks. During those weeks, I was only able to donate with my other arm, which meant breaking barely healed skin with each needle. 

Some days I waited an hour in line to see if I was eligible that day only to be told my iron was too low and I’d have to come back the next day. One technician I spoke with during this process told me that sometimes the other technicians didn’t fill the vial with enough blood and it gave them a false reading. 

Donating plasma may seem like a good idea to college students when they see the new donor promotion, but they don’t tell you that after the first month, each donation goes down to $20 a day, maybe $30. Only that first month yields any real profit and after that, it’s pocket change. 

Students shouldn’t look at it as a supplemental income, they take more than they give and it’s not worth it to waste time donating. There are safer ways to make up for that money. When I started, I was working full-time and didn’t have much money, but at the end of the month, when I was told I wouldn’t be able to complete my eight donations because of a second hematoma, I realized how much I wasted on doing this. 

Students reminisce on their favorite summer 2022 memories

Although summer may be over, the memories students have made will never be forgotten.

While some students were focusing on work and making major life decisions over the break, others were enjoying the scenery of southern Utah, traveling around the world, and moving to St. George. Whether students found work locally or back in their hometowns, many discovered their favorite memories of the summer were when they were making money. 

Allie Robbins, a senior exercise science major from Delta, worked thirty-hour weeks as a massage therapist at her own business, Läka

“The comments I had people give me this summer were the best,” Robbins said. “People thought I had been working for five or ten years, and I hadn’t even been licensed for a full year. That was just a really good compliment knowing that I am in the right field of work and doing what I love.”

After being licensed last July and starting her business in January, Robbins has returned to Utah Tech from a two-year gap to finish what she started. 

“It’s nice that I see the light at the end of the tunnel knowing that I will finish my degree,” Robbins said.

Other students made life-changing decisions, throwing them even further into the adult world. For some, attending college marks the first step of transitioning into adulthood, but a close second for Utah residents includes getting married.

Brandon Blair, a junior finance major from West Jordan, tied the knot with his fiance in July. 

“The whole summer was me leading up to the wedding, so it was a little stressful,” Blair said. “I didn’t get the normal break that you get over the summer, but the wedding went good. The stress was all for nothing in the end.”

After beginning a new chapter of his life, Blair returned to school with a new addition to his family.

“It’s definitely tough being back in school just because the first couple days of the semester are hard to get back in the swing of things, but being married definitely makes it nicer,” Blair said. 

With Utah being home to five national parks, 43 state parks, and many other spots to enjoy outdoor activities, students chose to spend their summer exploring Utah.

James Barrow, a sophomore biology major from Keene, New Hampshire, enjoyed some of his favorite hobbies including mountaineering and big-wall rock climbing.  

“Being able to get up these multiple thousand foot walls in less than six hours was super cool,” Barrow said.

After morning classes were eliminated from many schedules, students looked forward to sleeping in during the summer. As for Barrow, 2 a.m. alarm clocks allowed him to avoid the heat of southern Utah while enjoying traditional mountain climbing. 

“Just being able to mentally and physically push myself while mountain climbing makes life seem really easy,” Barrow said.  

Students also enjoyed venturing out of Utah. They traveled to other states and countries to enjoy different sceneries, attractions, and cultures. 

Justin Thornley, a freshman general education major from St. George, traveled alone to Spain to visit his family.

“Traveling was really fun,” Thornley said. “It was a different experience, especially going all alone. I definitely thought it was really fun going to the beach, traveling around and seeing a different culture than mine.”

With the summer before college marking a new chapter of freedom for many students, Thornley was able to practice his newfound independence while traveling abroad.

“I’d say I had an amazing summer because going to Spain by myself was a new experience for me,” Thornley said. “It highlighted more independence and how I can be my own person.”

While many students blocked out any thoughts of school, some students moved to the United States to prepare for their first semester at Utah Tech. 

Cirkeline Lundbert, a freshman business management major from Copenhagen, Denmark, flew over 10 hours to make St. George her new home. 

“Moving here was very stressful because I had to bring all my suitcases, pack up by myself, and move without my parents,” Lundbert said. 

Despite this big change, feelings of exhilaration filled students as they set up dorms, shopped for school, and settled down to prepare for this semester.

“Everything is exciting, like the whole experience of being alone and independent,” Lundbert said. “I think it’s very overwhelming, but I’ve already learned a lot about myself.”

Although summer break has come to an end, the memories made will long be remembered.

Utah Tech set to kick off the season vs. Sacramento State

The Utah Tech University football team will kick off its 2022 season on the road against Sacramento State Sept. 3. 

This will be the Trailblazers second time playing a ranked team in Utah Tech’s NCAA Division I FCS history. Sacramento State is ranked top 10 in the nation.

Head coach Paul Peterson said the Trailblazers will focus on taking over the football and the turnover margin. They will also strive to take the ball away more than give it away.

Although Utah Tech fell short against Sacramento State during its last matchup, the Trailblazers’ defense was able to keep the Big Sky defending champions to their lowest scoring game of the season.

“Sac State is a great opponent,” Peterson said. “I think we played well against them last year and had a good plan. We weren’t able to score as many points as we needed, but the guys have the excitement. It’s game week.”

Sacramento State has multiple athletes returning from their previous 9-3 season, but the Trailblazers are up to the task. Utah Tech has 67 athletes returning from last year’s roster including the 11 defensive starters and a similar amount on offense. 

Over the summer, Utah Tech was able to keep over 90 of the athletes for training due to the athletic department providing the athletes with scholarship money.  Doing so results in a more cohesive team, improvements on the field, and helps limit injuries, according to Peterson.

Peterson said the Trailblazers also had a successful fall camp with improvement made across the whole team.

“We’ve definitely added some depth on both sides of the ball,” Peterson said. “Our guys are that much older and further along developmental wise.”

Peterson said he is excited to see the steps you talked about with penalties, playing smart football, controlling the line of scrimmage, playing that field position game with the special team, and hitting yardage.

All in all, the Trailblazers have gone through the proper preparation to face Sacramento State and take the field as an official member of the WAC, being able to play five conference games rather than three last season. 

“They are pumped and ready to play,” Peterson said.

Stay up to date with the Utah Tech football team and all things athletics at https://utahtechtrailblazers.com.

The Trailblazers will have their home opener against Chadron State Sept 10.