As I enter my last year at Emporia State, there are a lot of things I’ll be leaving unfinished—Stories I haven’t told, people I haven’t met, opportunities I’ve missed, photos I haven’t taken and so much more. It is my hope though, that to at least some, I’ve made a positive impact.
This is my fifth semester as Editor-in-Chief, and my fourth semester as EIC during a pandemic. I feel like I’ve been here so long, and it’s such an odd thought thinking I only had a single “normal” semester as EIC.
It’s not been easy. In fact, it’s been the hardest long-term challenge I’ve had to deal with in my 22 years of life. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve been severely depressed for about three years now.
I’ve had to deal with people telling me my depression was a “motivation issue” when, clearly, it was not. I even had to change my major because I was not receiving the support I needed, and I was in a place where I could not advocate for myself.
This was in Spring 2020, right when we went into lockdown. That point was probably my lowest. I failed two classes that semester and dropped one. I felt so inadequate, and I couldn’t even explain everything I was feeling to my own family.
At this point, I knew there was absolutely no way I could continue in my position at The Bulletin or even finish college without making some changes. So, I did.
Not only did I change my major, I also started utilizing ESU’s counseling services and eventually found a therapist in Kansas City to meet with. Both were necessary steps, but I also felt that I needed medication, so I started seeing a psychiatrist as well. Medication is not for everyone, but it has helped me immensely in conjunction with therapy.
Since then, I’m feeling much better, and I’m able to take joy in my schooling and work once again. There are things that I’ve missed this last year, but if I remember that I’m just doing everything in my power that I can, I feel a little more at peace. I’m still just 22, and I will never stop learning and growing as an individual.
Unfortunately, I’m not the only one significantly struggling during this time. The rates of depression for college students were up to 63% in 2020, according to a survey of nearly 200 U.S. colleges done by The Jed Foundation.
As we approach Suicide Prevention Week, I urge you to check on your loved ones and even those in your community. College is already a difficult thing, and when you factor in the COVID-19 pandemic, students need as much support as possible.
Especially during the pandemic, finding self-care and support is so important. Since we started nearly two weeks ago, this semester has looked vastly different from past ones: We’re finally all back on campus, events are happening as normal and face-to-face classes are back a full capacity, despite the looming presence of the Delta Variant.
I know there are students, faculty and staff across campus feeling the same anxiety I am about our return to campus. But there are so many resources on our campus and in our community, so take care of yourself first and foremost, but check-in with your friends and family if you can.
To schedule an appointment with the Student Wellness Center, you can call them from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 620-341-5222, or go to the patient portal on Hornet365. You can also call Crosswinds Counseling and Wellness at 620-343-2211, or visit their website at crosswindsks.org.