Why Suicide Prevention Should Be Prioritized in Colleges

Why Suicide Prevention Should Be Prioritized in Colleges

We live in a society where people are told to get over depression by simply “thinking positively.”
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This past week, September 5th-11th, was National Suicide Prevention Week, and I couldn’t help but notice that my feed had recurring posts about signs of suicide, how to deal with depression, how to get help, etc. I know these posts will soon disappear just like they weren’t there for the weeks prior to this last one.

While I understand that suicide is a rather sensitive topic for some, it is one that everyone should be educated about and actively spread awareness on. Suicide has now replaced homicide as the second leading cause of death for teenagers/15-29-year-olds. According to Emory University’s research on suicide on college campuses, administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over one thousand undergraduate students commit suicide each year. Moreover, 1 in 10 college students has made a plan for suicide. As a college freshman myself, these numbers beyond horrify me, especially considering the competitive nature of a prestigious school such as Emory.

As outrageous as these numbers initially seemed to me, they started to make sense when I thought more deeply about the “why” behind these statistics. Surrounded by near-perfect people, who appear to manage their social and academic life so well, it isn’t surprising that so many students feel as if their lives are not enough. The fear of letting down our loved ones, being “less than” our peers, seeing our future goals drown along with our grades; all these reasons add up to make college kids easy prey to depression and other mental stresses.

College administrations often treat the subject of mental health and suicide lightly until their campus comes under scrutiny through a student’s death. Take University of Pennsylvania as an example, last academic year, six of their students took their life in a “suicide cluster,” after which the university took rigorous measures to create programs encouraging students to talk about their problems and receive proper counseling. Although plenty of campuses have suicide prevention programs, they are useless until something is done about destigmatizing depression and mental health. We live in a society where people are told to get over depression by simply “thinking positively.” If the solution was that easy, clearly so many wouldn’t have taken their lives over it.

Majority of the suicide risks for college students include feelings of failure, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, difficulty adjusting demands of college life, and other things of similar nature.

The root of the problem lies not only in the stigma of depression and mental health, but also in society’s idealization of college life. College is constantly reinforced as the best four years of our life: when we are young enough to be free from strenuous responsibilities yet old enough to enjoy the perks of adulthood. College kids are projected as invincible humanoids who can forgo any difficulty and are ready to head into the prime of their lives. How can they be depressed or anxious when they have no real challenges to face? This skewed perception further handicaps those struggling with themselves because now they feel defected for not being the well-rounded student society expects them to be.

Counseling programs and student organizations such as Active Minds that work to destigmatize mental health issues and raise awareness can only do so much. The best way to resolve this issue is to promote the idea of a college student as someone with beyond just a perfect social and academic life. It should be okay to not be a star athlete and on the dean’s list every single semester. Or winning Model UN and getting coveted research internships. While those things are great, they are certainly not the only thing that make a college experience memorable. If college students can realize that their worth is not compared to the success of their peers, then they may not feel like a failure.

College students, aged between 18-24, are leaving behind a life of instructions to make life-changing decisions on their own. How are they expected to create their future paths when they are being judged and dragged down for revealing their weakness to better themselves? They cannot learn until they get a couple B's to realize whether that major might not be right for them or not party every night to study for a class they are passionate about. It is time when we, as a community, should encourage college students to seek out guidance and care if they stumble in their paths.

If you are reading this and are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please know that you matter, regardless of what your grades or social life may be like. There are people out there who care, so please do not hesitate to reach out.

Link for suicide being second leading cause: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2016/suic...

Cover Image Credit: NY Times

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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The 5 Types of Retail Customers

A run-down on the many forms of customers you either encounter as a retail employee or are guilty of being.

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We all get summer jobs or seasonal jobs at some place to get that extra cash when we find ourselves broke after spending $300+ on Ubers/Lyfts in under a month (possibly speaking from personal experience). This in turn led me to broaden my job searching horizons and led me to work at a fast food chain that goes by the name of 'Salsaritas' (ironic since my nickname is Salsa, also was not intentional) and currently a retail store at a local mall. So, I guess it's safe to say that I have come across a lot of different people with a whole lot of personality. Working in these types of industries, it can sometimes be really hard and pretty interesting. So voila, here we go:

1. The Always Angry Customer

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This is the customer that is constantly angry. They walk in pissed off and they want everyone else to know that they are pissed off. This type of customer also uses at least one of these following sentences: "Let me talk to your manager. Who's your manager?" or the "How long have you been working here for?" Honestly, there's not much you can do to help them other than try to just do what they ask for and get them the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

2. The Messy Customer

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Easily one of the most annoying types of customers (sorry). This person will walk and run their hands through an entire counter or rack full of perfectly folded clothes, unfold them, and then just leave them on the counter or on the floor. They also have the "it's fine, it's their job to fold them" mentality. Honestly though, how hard is it to put a jacket or shirt back on a hanger? And if you're this type of customer please, please, please, put what you found back where it came from. Sincerely, every retail employee ever.

3. The Super Nice Customer

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This customer is god-send and thank god that they exist. They are the ones who you can just tell are genuinely good people. New at work and don't know how the hell to ring up a customer at a register? No worries, they'll wait there patiently, smile at you, and occasionally tell you that "you're doing great sweetie." They treat you like you're not just a retail employee and at the end of the day, you just wanna give them a hug for making your day feel less shitty.

4. The Talkative Customer

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There's two parts to this one. This type of customer is either talking on the phone while you're ringing them up at the register or is just trying to get to know literally everything there is to know about you. If they're on the phone, it's impossible to know if they're responding to you or to the person who they're on the phone with. The worst part is when they hold up one finger to signal to you that they'll be just a minute and leave you to just awkwardly stand in front of them while trying not to listen to their entire conversation. The other part is when they just want to get to know you which is cute and all until they're just trying to analyze your entire background, where you're from, what you're studying, etc. Luckily if you're like me who wasn't born in the U.S. with a very ethnic name, you just scored yourself a talkative customer. Well done and good luck getting out of the conversation!

5. The Last Minute Customer

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Imagine that you just did an 8 hour shift and right when you're about to clock out and head out to go home, you see a customer walking in literally a minute or two before the whole mall is about to close. They'll probably ask you if you're about to close even though they can see that there's not a single person inside there other than you. They'll also probably tell you that they know exactly what they're looking for. It's never true and get ready for that OT. But hey, on the bright-side, you'll get a fat pay-check.


So, the next time you find yourself at a mall...Remind yourself to pick up something you might've accidentally dropped, keep in mind that workers are human beings too, and kindness goes a long way because at the end of the day, that employee could be one of your loved ones.

Until next time,

Salsa.


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