By Miguel Gonzalez
Unfinished papers, internship applications and dozens of empty soda bottles cluttered my room that I couldn’t bear to leave sometimes last spring.
I could hear all the laughing, screaming and jubilation coming from neighboring dorms on weekend nights, but I couldn’t help but weep as all my physical and mental problems stood in front of me.
After denying it for years, my daily anxiety had created a bitter, fatiguing rivalry within my consciousness. For a moment, it seemed easy to throw away all of my accomplishments and relationships I’ve worked so hard to forge at the College.
I’m glad I didn’t.
Despite wrecking my GPA with two C’s and two D’s and almost quitting The Signal last semester, I finally recognized my greatest resource — my friends. Those people I see everyday perfecting a note at Mayo Hall, researching in the STEM Building, making decisions upstairs in the Student Center that affect campus life and debating whether Central Jersey exists in Eickhoff Dining Hall.
After having a couple of emotional outbursts in front of friends I’ve known for such a long time, I realized I wasn’t alone.
At this land of brick buildings in Ewing, New Jersey, I have an arsenal of every resource imaginable to steer me to the right path.
The mental struggle has no face, no race, no stereotype, no ethnicity, no socio-economic background and no image online to make a meme about. It can happen to anyone whether they’re a freshman or a popular student leader on campus.
While it’s good to see that students recognize how important mental health is on social media, it’s more meaningful to check up on the people you see everyday in real life.
Whenever a beloved celebrity such as Robin Williams or Anthony Bourdain die from suicide, or we are recognizing Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re quick to pull out our phones and post quotes, reactions and reminders for those who are struggling to reach out for support on social media.
In place of hashtags, we should look up and ask how our friends — the people who matter to us more than any celebrity, icon, fictional character, athlete and national leader we inspire to be — are doing.
“Hey, how you’re doing? Ready for your presentation tomorrow? I know you’ll ace it.” “Need a break? Let’s head over to the Ed Cafe for a quick snack.”
It’s the human interaction, the communication, the words and that familiar voice that lifts the spirit of anyone who is feeling insecure, depressed or stressed out. It doesn’t hurt to take off your headphones and talk about your daily hustle as a college student with your peers.
The beauty of the College’s size is that we can all interact on a regular basis, whether you see someone once at a concert or almost everyday as fellow e-board members.
Five months later, I proud to say I’m on the right track to growing out of my anxiety. I know I would’ve not done it without the unconditional love from my family, but more significantly, those editors who love to make a newspaper in Forcina Hall, Room 204 on Monday nights.