Individualism is praised in our culture. We are applauded when we do big things without the help of anyone else when we are our own people making our own decisions. Yet I have noticed so much pain and loneliness in the world, full of so many struggling people. Something seems wrong in the way we go about life. Struggling on your own takes away from the support you could feel and the understanding that comes from a helping hand. For some, it is not always easy to ask for help; no matter how big or small the task is. Yet, we need to be a society that is willing to reach out, to notice those who are struggling.

In high school, I was never one to ask the teacher for help on confusing assignments. When given the choice to work in groups or alone, I would always choose the route of figuring things out by myself. I felt better moving along at my own strengths, but I feel like I also missed out on a lot of opportunities to collaborate and get the help I needed. This need to do things alone translated into other aspects of my life, and I really struggled at times where I didn't know how to truly ask for help. In the grandeur, I felt very alone in high school. I chose to close myself off instead of being involved. I didn't see the importance of making connections, and it started to hurt my personal growth.

I'm not saying that it's bad to do things on your own, because there is some good that comes out of that. But it is so much harder to struggle alone, to do things at your own pace and figure out life as you go, than it is to simply ask for help. Whatever you are struggling with, no matter how big or small, another person's help is so freeing. However, coming from a person who has had trouble learning how to reach out and actually ask for the help of others, it takes a lot of pushing and a lot of leaving stubbornness behind.

It can be difficult to become comfortable enough to not be afraid to ask for the help of others. However, there are most likely people in your life who want to help you. Also, it is completely OK to admit that you are struggling. All the pressures of "making it" as an individual should be set aside because, in reality, we can only go so far on our own strength. And last, you get to decide what you will do with the resources around you. That is the beauty of being your own person. Not understanding your math assignment? Go to your professor's office hours. Confused about your academic path? Talk to an advisor. Going through something tough on your own and need someone to talk to? Look into your school's counseling services or talk to a trusted friend. Taking advantage of the resources around you will make you feel so much less alone and vulnerable. The truth is, you do not have to suffer alone or do life on your own. Surrounding yourself with people you can depend on will most likely encourage you to reach out to them when you are in need.

Through my first year in college, I have grown to have a great appreciation for working with others. Part of it could be because I have matured, but I believe that I have also learned how to ask for help and to be OK with accepting other's advice and counsel. I've found that if I continually work myself to the point of exhaustion, I do not perform well, and I also grow disheartened and anguished. The help of my parents, friends, and community have given me the joy of receiving help from others. It is the kind of help that I can eventually pour back onto other people. I believe that as humans we should look out for those in our lives. It takes noticing the signs of anguish, and maybe even doing the simple step in asking others if they need help with anything.

So whether you are struggling with a physical task, or you are in a state of extreme doubt, you do not need to go through it alone. Whatever you go through in life, I hope there are people you can count on to support you and pull you out of whatever you are struggling with. I hope there are people you can trust and depend on. And lastly, I hope that you aren't going through life alone —people need people, and it's OK to admit that you need someone.