Shift Into G.E.A.R.

A glimpse into the average college student’s life reveals drugs, sex and alcohol to be a conversational norm. Even if these topics are still a taboo, shoved into a dusty corner next to “mental health”, they are subjects in which we all indulge eventually, either verbally or physically… or metaphysically, depending on your drug of choice (I kid, I kid!). No, seriously though, the college experience is riddled with illicit exposure that the majority of us were safely sheltered from back in high school, and now that the bubble has burst, these are topics that need to be addressed in an informative manner.

Not to dismiss the authenticity and importance of more casual discussions about sex, drugs, and alcohol, but this type of discussion doesn’t usually touch base with the most important common denominator here: salud mental. As university students, it is our duty and right to know how to logically maneuver these subjects, and how they can potentially affect our emotional and physical well-being. I’m not gonna give you the whole “don’t have sex, you’ll get pregnant and die” talk, nor am I going to preach the hyperreal threat of quedandote pega’ o pega’o en un viaje. Don’t ignore the facts though. We live on a tiny island where over 18,400 people are infected with HIV or AIDs. Not to mention, our home is the Caribbean’s drug point; in 2014, it was “estimated that as much as 87,550 kilograms of cocaine circulate annually through the island into the U.S.” The sociomedical implications of these numbers are terrifying. Personally, I suggest you binge-watch Narcos; it’s legal and the high is pure.

Of course, mental health covers a much broader scope of issues outside of sexual and drug-related dangers. UPRM has its own team of psychologists, and a lovely group of people known as G.E.A.R (Grupo de Estudiantes de Apoyo al Recinto) all conveniently positioned on the first floor of Servicios Medicos! If you’re feeling confused, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or maybe you just need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to pay them a visit. No time to schedule an appointment with a psychologist? Not a problem! G.E.A.R keeps the clock running so there is always time for a surprise visitor in need. Their motto is "saving lives one at a time". "We are a student organization with the objective to orientate about the meaning and importance of both physical and mental health." explains Cindy Soto, current G.E.A.R president. "We promote the personal growth and development of our members, in order for us to become leaders with critical thought. We provide a trustworthy environmet where everybody can feel free to express themselves without predjudice and with absolute discretion." Their members share strong, emotional bonds that turn them into life-long friends, as loyalty is the main value G.E.A.R seeks to teach it's crew.

In case you are were wondering,G.E.A.R is not just all about the psych. This is one of the most active students associations on campus. They plan regular group bonding activities (incluiding fun field trips), as well as talks of awareness for different important issues such as suicide prevention, sexual health and more. They get involved with important causes and partnership with associations that also seek to promote student's welless. During the PREPA week, G.E.A.R does an outstanding job in offering our entering class games and activities that will help them understand the importance of mantainig a balanced, healthy lifestyle (physically and emotionally) during their college careers, in order to be sucessful. Yes, they totally are te kind of people you want to hang out with.

If you are dealing with a problem of any kind that you don't have to bear alone, G.E.A.R is here for you. Visit them at OF 105 of Servicios Médicosor write an email to [email protected].