By Sequoia Sinclair | Contributor
Suicide is the second leading cause of death between ages 15 and 35, according to the CDC.
College life is a time of excitement and discovery as well as higher risks of stress. These dynamics can create a sense of confusion paired with anxiety. Pressures to succeed can lead to feelings of powerlessness or crisis, increasing the risk of depression and suicide. The “Love a Stranger” challenge is used to encourage students into taking what they’ve learned and using it in practice. It is imperative for students to take their own prescription of community service to create interpersonal connections.
Connectedness between people creates purpose and helps people to strive in life. Let us not wait until the peak of someone’s dismay to tell them that they are worth something or that they matter. Let us not wait until the peak of our own dismay to connect with someone. Let us talk about the issues of suicide, along with how interconnected relationships and peer support can fight against the epidemic of suicide.
Statement of Purpose
It is important to encourage people in actively seeking out ways to enhance their lives — this is a process that should be continuous not only at the harshest of times. I proposed a challenge to the student body at Augusta University to develop interpersonal connections, whether brief or long, with someone whom they do not know and share with The Bell Ringer. Their experiences will be shared on the newspaper’s website and social media.
A participant will meet with a stranger on campus and engage in a conversation. Throughout this conversation, they cannot discuss school, work, or planning of any kind. Students must encourage the “stranger” to tell them of a passion or purpose in their life that is not centered on work or school. Participants on another occasion will then find an opportunity to discuss their passion with a stranger, putting themselves in the reverse role. Then they will write about both experiences and submit them to The Bell Ringer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sequoia Sinclair at Sesinclair@augusta.edu.
- Find something in common between parties.
- Encourage the person to “tell you more.”
- Go up to someone you never met, or someone that you have seen but haven’t spoken to.
- Use your senses (e.g. I like the ribbon on your backpack. Tell me about it.).
- If this is awkward for you, tell them — you never know who else is anxious around new people.
- Be open to where the direction of the conversation may take you.
Plan of Action
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Day, I will pass out cookies on April 25 from noon to 2 p.m. with rules for the challenge. The Bell Ringer will continuously post quotes from the experiences that students submitted for the newspaper’s website and social media to honor the life of Katie Rogers.
Thank you for your time,