It’s no secret that the Russia-Ukraine invasion is on everyone’s mind. There have been several announcements during Sequoyah’s Morning Meeting, and students are reminded of it in news articles, videos suggested on Youtube, and the updates given by NPR & KPCC several times a day. Naturally, with high political tensions in the US and elsewhere, the pandemic just beyond the two-year mark, inflation on the rise, prices up, and now diplomatic relations between Russia and NATO breaking down, stress and anxiety levels are up world wide.
With tensions rising, The Barefoot Times surveyed 50 students to gauge their level of concern about the possibility of a US and NATO war with Russia.
When asked if they thought there would be a conventional, non-nuclear war, students were fairly evenly divided, with 54% responding “yes” and 46% responding “no.” On the other hand, a whopping 82% believe that nuclear war is most likely not going to happen.
Meanwhile, the survey indicated that students’ fear about the possibilities of a global conflict is significant, but not overwhelming.
The average of the fear ratings on a scale from 1 (“no fear”) to 10 (“utterly terrified”) is 5.42, and in looking at the graph, you can tell that that the scale skews towards people being more afraid than unafraid; still, there is a sharp dropoff after 8. No one answered 10, or “utterly terrified.” However, this isn’t caused by people hesitating to answer the extremes, since two people reported a 1, “no fear”; responses indicate that people are fairly afraid, but not overwhelmingly so. Now of course, these numbers aren’t the most definite, since only around one-third of the student body was surveyed, but it does still give a general idea of students’ perspectives on this conflict. With regard to methodology, it would have been better to make all three questions scales of 1 to 10, rather than two yes-or-no questions and then a scale. There is also the issue of human error, since questions could have been misread or misinterpreted, like in any survey. But while using the survey as a reference for the exact optimism or pessimism within the student body would yield unreliable results, it can still be used to gauge general student attitudes on this issue.