Dear Reader: What You Do Matters

At 19 years old, I've heard the words "depressed," "eating disorder" and  "self-harm" more than I ever thought I would in my entire lifetime. Sometimes they're misused, and sometimes they're describing classmates, family, friends or someone in the news. It's an unsettling feeling, and I just wanted to take the time to a remind my fellow students that you're worth it. Life is a gift and what you do with your life matters. It matters to your family, friends, teachers, classmates and it matters to me. 

College can be an uncomfortable and scary time in your life. If you’re a freshman, it's a lot of firsts and that can be confusing. First roommate, first time away from home, first real relationship or the first time dealing with issues on your own. And regardless of what year of college you’re in, the stakes feel higher than ever. The last thing you want to do is make any mistakes that can affect your future, and it can feel like everyone around you is more prepared than you are. But it's important to realize it's normal to experience these things and you should give yourself the time and resources to get through them.  

Life can throw some other curveballs, too. Bad things are going to happen to good people, and chances are something unexpected is going to rock your world one day. This can leave you feeling hopeless, but I'm encouraging you to never lose hope for too long because it will get better. If you allow it to, it will always get better.  

The word "suicide" scares me. I don't even like to write it out. "Self-harm" is another phrase that gives me the chills. But the truth is, it's a reality in this world and it's something that happens everyday.

The next time you feel like self-harm is the answer or you're having depressing thoughts, I urge you to think again. Seek help. Focus on the good in life. Remember all of the people who want to see you happy. And if you feel like there's no one there who cares if you succeed in life or not, I'm telling you that I do.  

And the next time you're having a good day, smile at a stranger. Spread the love and help out a fellow classmate because you just never know what is going through someone's mind.