19 year-old Madison Holleran, a popular track star at the University of Pennsylvania, ended her life by jumping off a building on Friday, January 17th. When my coach informed me of this story, i felt nothing but confusion and shock. How could a gorgeous girl, attending an Ivy League school for her amazing track abilities, have any reason to take her own life? The answer is pressure. Madison had informed her family that she was having suicidal thoughts from the stress of her classes and track. She was even in therapy to help her cope with this stress. Still, she felt the need to go to the top of a city center building, leave notes and gifts for her family, and jump. The scariest thing about suicidal thoughts is how well they can be hidden. Hours before Madison jumped, her dad texted her to look into anti-depressants and she responded that she would. He had no way to know she would be taking her life shortly after. This is why I feel the need to bring attention to the pressures of college students.
So many students are dealing with battles that most people know nothing about. They are juggling too much and put impossible standards on themselves. It’s important to remember that your mental health always comes first no matter what expectations you have. I am certainly no stranger to being overwhelmed. Trying to balance difficult classes, athletics, family troubles, friends, and financial stress has at times caused me to have full-on anxiety attacks. I cannot emphasize enough how important my mental breaks are to me. Sometimes stress can mess with your mind and cause you to make irrational decisions. This doesn’t just happen to popular track stars at Ivy League schools. It might be happening to someone close to you right now.
The best thing you can do if this happens to you is talk to someone. Whether it be a therapist, family member, or friend, sharing your problems is the best way to start relieving some of that pressure. When you’re by yourself and you get that overwhelming feeling that you are drowning in all of the pressures around you, just BREATHE. Think about all the amazing things you have ahead of you. Get distracted by a favorite song or T.V. show. Harming yourself is never the right escape to your problems.