Usually, when I write my articles, I write about the things I’ve seen in the news recently or in popular culture. I realized that I haven’t made time to write about what is most important to me. Being in college my friends and I have had countless amounts of emotional/mental breakdowns, especially during this spring semester. People have left our lives, tried us, and dragged us into unnecessary drama. I want to use this article to check up on all the brown girls around who are having these same struggles while they are away from home. A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is being hours away from home, or how hard it is to actually be on your own. Starting at a new school, in a new state, by yourself is one of the most nerve-racking things I have ever had to do. This is a dream that most of us have had since we learned of what college was, and for some of us, we are some of the first people in our families to actually attend college, let alone travel miles away. The pressures of having to do well because your family is depending on you to make a difference and set an example for younger siblings or cousins is overwhelming.
On top of having to set all of these examples and becoming a role model for the children in our families, we have to make sure as brown women that we are not going to fall into statistics or stereotypes that have been placed on our community. Along with being away from home for months at a time, we have to worry about how we’re going to travel safely (because even during a fifteen-minute walk to Walmart we are being grabbed at and harassed). We endure so much. We break our backs to make sure that the people around us are okay, we study to the point where we are literally making ourselves sick and we do all of this without checking up on ourselves. We are so focused on trying to set this example for our younger family members, and we are so worried about letting our parents down, that we rarely make time for what is truly important: our health. Our mental health reflects our overall health and the majority of us do not even realize it. A lot of us, don’t have people around to tell us how hard it is to try to be balanced, no one tells us to check up on ourselves. It is even more difficult to be a creative person in college. We get papers’ thrown at us, projects, quizzes, tests. All of these things hinder the production of our art. Our minds get so cluttered with unnecessary definitions and formulas (that we are NEVER going to use again), and we don’t have time to think about the things that actually make us happy.
We need to start taking breaks. Whether that means renting out a room in the library and just sitting there alone listening to music, or taking a ride alone and doing some thinking. Having a mental breakdown should not be considered the college norm, nor should we be working ourselves to the point of sickness. We are human. It is okay to make mistakes, especially in college. We are not supposed to be perfect; we just started adulting. Remove yourself from toxic situations and relationships. Stop letting people take advantage of you and take a mental break. You deserve it. The world would be a terrible place if it weren’t for the strength of Black/Brown women.