By Ashley Fincher, Staff Writer
According to an Associated Press story edited by CBS, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University jumped off of the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22 after his roommate and another friend secretly recorded him having a sexual encounter with another male and broadcasted it over the internet. The two students that were involved with the recording have been charged with invasion of privacy. The raw emotional distress caused by the two Rutgers students, makes the cruel reality of suicide all too real.
“I don’t want to believe that what happened to students on other campuses could happen here,” said Dr. Lynne Grady, director of counseling and psychological services. “It’s critical that we not remain silent when we witness injustice, and that we truly care about one other. The CAPS Center is a strong advocate for all our students and available 24/7. If you or anyone you know needs a safe, secure, confidential place to go, make the call.”
Clementi’s death was a tragic and unnecessary event. But, thankfully, we have the power to learn from it. Clementi’s untimely death should serve as a reminder to all of us to respect each other and the differences among us as we all continue our academic journey here at Young Harris College.
“We should all keep in mind that no student should be made to feel unsafe, especially on our campus,” Grady said. “This is a place for intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth that will not be impeded by intolerance, fear or ignorance of any kind regardless of the circumstances.”
Grady also emphasized that it is crucial that we realize harassment and intolerance is not only directed at gay students, but is also aimed at anyone who is perceived as ‘different.’ And, as we remember those we’ve lost, think about those who live with the torment of being bullied and harassed every day. Think about how we contribute to the problem by either participating in the bullying or remaining silent as others are harassed.
Grady suggests that we all challenge ourselves each day to think about our actions, our language and how these affect others. When someone says ‘that’s so gay,’ call them out. But, don’t stop there, when you hear someone say anything racist, sexist or anti-any group, call them out. It is our job to help each other become better people, but in order to do this, we have to talk about it.
The easiest way to become more aware of your own actions is to put yourself in the shoes of those who are ‘different’ from you. Once you are comfortable and secure in yourself, take a stand when you see injustice.
If you are a student that is being bullied or harassed please don’t allow it to continue any longer. Tell a friend or contact the C.AP.S. center for assistance.
Take a stand to stop intolerance. The fight starts here. Life is a terrible thing to waste; so let’s not let what happened at Rutgers happen at YHC.
By Ashley M. Fincher, Staff Writer
In today’s society, mental illness is almost like a taboo topic. We know that mental health issues exist but we don’t like to talk about them or think about them, because we have a fear of being judged or labeled as crazy. We think that by ignoring them they will simply go away. However, in most cases, a mental health issue doesn’t just disappear; and sometimes when an illness of this nature is left untreated, it can have serious consequences.
In the fall of 2009, I was like any normal student here at Young Harris College. I had my group of friends, and we stayed up all hours of the night eating pizza and working on papers that we had procrastinated on. I always went to class and maintained a high grade-point average, while having a smile on my face. Everything seemed perfect, or at least that is what I led everyone to believe.
After laying two friends to rest and handling a mountain of personal problems I was slowly falling apart on the inside. I started out missing classes here and there and having an occasional drink in my room. No harm done- or at least that is what I thought- until the drinking and skipping classes became habitual. Drinking every night and maybe going to three or four classes a week I still refused to admit there was a serious problem until the one night came when I decided that I no longer wanted to live.
Sitting on my bed I apologized to God and everyone for what I was about to do as I grabbed two handfuls of medication and started taking them. Good bye world, good bye pain, I said as I started slowly feeling the effects of the medication. I am sorry I wasn’t good enough for anyone and now maybe someone better can take over what I am about to leave behind.
As I was slipping in and out of consciousness that night the one thing that I remember is being taken out on a stretcher with Dr. Grady, and my best friend watching from the hallway. I wanted to say I was sorry and hug them both, but I didn’t have the strength to do it.
I awoke the next morning while I was in route to a mental health facility and wondered how I let it get this bad. How could I have tried to take my own life? I knew that I had depression issues, but I didn’t think they would ever cause me to try and take my own life.
I spent the next 72 hours in the mental health facility, where I learned that I could recover from depression. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it was going to take time; but I knew I could do it. After being released from the hospital, I withdrew from school for the remainder of the semester and began the road to recovery.
It wasn’t an easy road. In fact, learning to deal with this mental illness was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I lived to tell the tale. And it has made me a stronger person. I hope to one day dedicate my life to help others deal with mental health issues; so, if you or someone you know is dealing with a mental illness, get help. And don’t let it go untreated, because a life is a terrible thing to waste.
Ashley M. Fincher, Staff Writer
Should I stay or should I go? That is the question that many Young Harris College students ask themselves on Friday afternoon of every week. For most students the answer is go. While YHC is famous for academics, its location doesn’t offer many weekend attractions for students.
Jessica Keaton, a senior English major from the city of Young Harris said, “It’s really sad that the only interesting thing to do on the weekends at school is watch Lifetime movies.”
For most college students a typical weekend is spent trying to unwind from a stressful week by going to a bar, going to a concert or attending a sports event. However, YHC’s location makes it nearly impossible for their students to do so with the only local attractions being the movies and Fun World, which is an arcade center geared towards children.
Although the campus is very quiet on the weekends, it is seldom that there is an event worth staying the weekend for.This is a problem that YHC will have to fix in the future as they continue to grow as a four-year institution; but, for now students are forced to leave the area if they wish to have a “typical college student” weekend.
By Ashley Fincher, Staff Writer
When I first enrolled in YHC as a student in the fall of 2007, the campus was severely lacking adequate handicapped access. The campus had very few ramps, a lot of curbs and stairs in some of the most inconvenient places; it was not a very friendly environment for students with disabilities.
However, in the past few years, YHC has made many positive changes to the campus by ramps, curb cuts, and best of all the new ADA buildings, but in all reality, that has only solved a few small problems.
I have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and I must have either my wheelchair or walker at all times in order to be mobile.
When you are disabled as I am, the smallest tasks can take a great deal of energy to accomplish, and it can be very overwhelming.
I understand that some tasks such as doing laundry and mopping the floors are considered personal responsibilities. I have no problem taking care of the little things, because I’m very independent. However, some of the mobility issues on campus can and should be fixed.
People who do not have to deal with physical disabilities probably don’t even realize the small difficulties that disabled students face on a daily basis on this campus. For starters, I find it ironic that Student Development is upstairs in the PB building with no elevator.
Also, it is almost impossible for students with physical challenges to get upstairs in the library where the study rooms and most of the books are located unless you want to go in an “antique” elevator and I for one do not trust it.
Speaking of elevators, in my dorm there are no elevators at all. I live on the first floor of the Appleby Center Complex and I have no way of getting upstairs to the RAs or RDs unless I call them and hope that they answer.
That may not seem like a big deal but when you accidentally lock yourself out and can’t find anyone that can become a huge problem.
Granted, YHC does have ADA dorms but as we all know it can cost an arm and a leg to live in them so it’s either live in Appleby with no elevator or don’t live on campus at all because you can’t afford it.
I am by no means saying that the school should fix every little problem but the stuff that can be fixed should be fixed. Not every physically challenged person has as much mobility as I or my fellow disabled friends have. After all, YHC is a four-year institution and they could possibly miss out on some wonderful students because of the disabling access.