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What I Wish My College Community Advisors Had Known About Me

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After high school I decided to follow the crowd and make the big transition to go to college. Most of my graduating class was leaving our small town to go off and do great things, and I wanted to be a part of the greatness. I hopped on the train and left for college at the end of the summer. What I didn’t realize was how much my depression would affect my new start.

College is suppose to be a fresh start. It’s suppose to be some of the best times of our lives, and it’s suppose to be a place where you can really find out what you want to do for the rest of your life. This was not entirely my story.

I was excited to move into a college dorm and get the four-year experience that most colleges push you to do. I got my keys, unloaded the car, and was saying my tearful goodbyes to my parents when it hit me: How am I suppose to do this on my own?

I’ve had depression since I was in elementary school, and my support system was getting in the car and making the three-hour drive back home. I could feel all the depressive thoughts slowly making their way into my mind as my parents drove away.

I pushed these thoughts away for as long as I could until my depression was at full force my second week of freshmen year. I have gotten really good at hiding my emotions from others. I was in a new place with new people so nobody knew what was going on inside my head. My support system had been ripped off like a Band-Aid, and it was still stinging.

I always wonder, “What if my CAs (community advisors, same as resident advisor/RA) had sat down and talked with me about how things were going? Would the semester have gone differently?” Most days I couldn’t even get out of bed. I would not even change out of my PJs, let alone leave the building. When I did accomplish the task of going to class I couldn’t pay attention because I didn’t have any friends I could talk to. Alas, the semester continued, and I was put on academic probation. No one asked me, “are you OK?”

I think CAs should be trained to check in with residents and tell them some of the resources on campus. With this help, my semester may have gone completely different.

Though I am no longer letting my depression take control of my everyday life, I would be lying if I told you there are days where I still don’t get out of bed.

If you are in a situation like I was, you can still have a fresh start. Seek out help as soon as you need it, and your story can be different than mine.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo by kevin russ

Originally published: April 21, 2017
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