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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

You don’t think when you’re packing for college that you would’ve needed to pack funeral clothes. You don’t think when you attend a funeral it would just be with a bunch of people who are barely adults. You don’t think you’d be staring at his casket thinking it’s way too big for someone that was as small as him. You don’t think you’d ever be burying your friend when you haven’t even hit twenty. 

Let’s talk about how so many students use college as a way to escape from their situations back home, let’s talk about how my friend was told she was only going to get four to five therapy sessions so everyone can get an equal opportunity, and let’s talk about how it took three separate people on three separate occasions jumping off of one parking garage for some sort of barrier to be put up (although with all the money going towards a new sports stadium, how much is going toward hiring more therapists for the campus). There was also barely any actual coverage on what happened, with so many different rumors flying around. It almost felt like with college application season coming up it wasn’t something the school wanted to let be known. Why is the university acting like they’ve always cared for their students’ mental health when it’s so obvious how underfunded the counseling center is?

Even though mental illness is becoming less stigmatized in the twenty-first century, and even though it’s become a bigger and more open conversation, you still don’t always know what’s going on in someone’s head. According to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Suicide Statistics, over a quarter of college students have thought of suicide to some degree, and of those students over half of them are transgender/gender fluid, and nearly half of them had failing GPAs and were under some sort of financial stress. Additionally, suicide is the second leading cause of death in college students, with a quarter of college students knowing someone who has died of suicide. I never wanted to be a part of that statistic. 

Please check up on your friends, please see how they’re doing. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that universities don’t put as much care into their students’ mental health as they should. They don’t look into our situations; they only see us as numbers and dollar signs. Even if you don’t know a person, if you see someone in a difficult situation, be kind to them. And most importantly, be kind to yourself. Take time for yourself and feel comfortable opening up to others. Trust me when I tell you, your loved ones would much rather you talk to them and be able to help you. 

I’m tired of thinking about the what ifs and whys.

Everyone misses you, Habibi. 

Mika is an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida, majoring in Public Health. She is also the current president of the Lotus Flower Project, a support and advocacy group for those with eating disorders. She enjoys reading and writing as well as listening to music and hanging out with her friends. Her favorite place to be is downtown Tampa.