Moving away from home was the best thing that happened even if I didn't end up staying

I Had To Move Away From Home In Order To Find Myself

Not only am I now at the university I always dreamed of, but I feel happiest I've ever been in very long time.


Ever since I was little, I dreamed of faraway places and the life I might have as an adult. I moved quite a bit when I was younger, so getting the opportunity to start over and meet new people always appealed to me. I believe the world is an interesting place we all can learn and grow from, but we have to be willing to seek after it.

When I applied to colleges my senior year of high school, I applied to a total of 15 schools. 6 in state, 9 out of state. The ones that were in state were more of my "safety" schools. It's not that I don't believe the state of Pennsylvania has great schools, but it didn't seem different to me. With that, I got into all 15 after being waitlisted from two.

It's important to note that I always loved the University of Pittsburgh. My dad went to Pitt during his undergrad, so it was basically installed into me when I was 6, I would go there too. I started attending football games with my parents and my dad's friends, constantly visited the university, and even dreamed of attending the school. However, when it came down to deciding where I wanted to go, I lost all appeal. I felt like I was following too much in my dad's footsteps. I thought I wanted to go to ROTC as he did, and even had plans of being an army nurse to make a full career out of it.

I felt a need to discover who I was without feeling like I was living in someone else's shadow. I wanted to find my own destiny and create it without feeling pressure.

At the end of it all, I ended up choosing Temple University in Philadelphia. Yes, it was in state, but it was six hours away from home in one of the biggest cities in America. For an aspiring Political Science major, I loved how it was dead in the middle between New York City, Harrisburg, and Washington D.C., so the possibilities of different internships and job opportunities pulled me in. Plus, when I went to visit the campus, I basically fell in love with the university.

However, things changed halfway through my sophomore year. Just like anyone moving away from home for the first time, I struggled to adjust and get used to living on my own. I like to think I have always been a fairly independent person. However, moving to a new city meant learning my way around the city, navigating the subways, and other basic adult functions as I no longer had my mother there to help me. Sure, she was a phone call away but I needed to learn to be on my one.

I was happy for a while at Temple. I mean, I was a part of a sorority - something advertised to be the best decision ever. I just didn't feel like myself. Yet, I thought I was going through just a rough patch and would overcome it. It got to the point I no longer felt comfortable at Temple since I reached a point where I just broke down. I couldn't keep going on pretending everything was okay because it clearly was not.

Ultimately, I decided to move back home and attend the University of Pittsburgh like I always dreamed. I do believe a part of me always wondered what my life would be like if I did attend Pitt. And now that I'm here, I can say this is the best decision of my life.

Not only am I at the university I always dreamed of, but I feel happier. I am not only working hard in school but taking care of myself in the process. I have grown from the person who I was just a few months ago, and that is something amazing. I feel so blessed to have parents and friends who have heard that I've been struggling and pushing me to do what is best for me.

I am just at the beginning of discovering who I am, and I couldn't be any more excited about what this next chapter as in store. It's only been eight weeks since I became a Pitt Panther, and I couldn't be any happier.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.


Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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