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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

College depression

About a year ago, 19-year-old Madison Holleran jumped to her death from a parking garage outside her college campus. The University of Pennsylvania freshman was a track star that “shocked the school and her hometown in New Jersey” with the fatal action, according to a Daily Mail article published earlier this month.

The story is resurfacing on social networking sites after Madison’s family’s decision to release her tragic suicide note, as well as the gifts she left for them. Madison’s father detailed that one of the main triggers for the tragic event was the fact that the “high-achiever ultimately couldn’t cope with the expectations she’d set for herself,” after earning a 3.5 GPA her first semester at the University of Pennsylvania, according to Daily Mail.

Although Madison’s father doesn’t blame the school for his daughter’s death, her story should be a wake-up call to students and educators everywhere.

Across the nation, college students are devoting the majority of their days to their studies, often leaving little or no time for other activities. Although this is the case, if a student hopes to attend a graduate school, they need to maintain several volunteer and extra-curricular activities to make themselves noteworthy. In fact, the amount of pressure on students to excel in their studies, participate in interesting activities and maintain a social life leaves the majority to battle anxiety and depression. This leaves students feeling not accomplished but overwhelmed.

Anxiety affects 41.6 percent of college students, followed closely by the 36.4 percent of students living with depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Of course, one of the main side effects of depression is thoughts of or attempted suicide, which claims the lives of too many young people every year. 

When students of all different skill levels are required to take the same classes, there’s no way to assume how much stress is being placed on individuals when the workload may be too much alongside the rest of their schedule. There are only 24 hours in a day to accomplish classes, class work, sports, clubs and if you’re lucky, sleep. Everyone is taught to prioritize the future and academics, but that is challenged when mental health comes in as an issue needing the most attention.

There is a constant pressure within college campuses to graduate with a degree, get a good job and provide for society in the way it provided for you. Having to figure out the next 35 years of your life while still a teenager poses many problems for students, including feeling inadequate and believing your aspirations will not amount to what they’re supposed to. This makes trying to stay positive and motivated to work toward goals a unconquerable challenge.

Instead of overwhelming students with the workload and thoughts of the future, let’s teach them to consider their mental health a main priority so there will be no more families grieving the loss of their children to the pressures of the education system, like the family of Madison Holleran.

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