If you're reading this, I care about you.
We may or may not have ever met. I might have passed you near the dumpling truck or held the door to Alderman Library open for you. Maybe we lived in the same first year dorm. Maybe we've never seen each other. Regardless, I care about you.
I care about you in such a way that I hope any decent person would. You have value, goals, and dreams. You make a difference in the lives of those around you. Sometimes life can get you down. Sometimes you can feel like giving up. You can feel like it isn't even worth getting out of bed in the morning. Just when you feel like everything might be okay, it all comes crashing down again. You feel like you're never going to win this battle. What's the point, right?
I'll share the single most impactful and empowering statement someone has shared with me during a difficult time. Are you ready for my thesis statement? The words that profoundly changed my life?
It's okay to feel the way you do.
I hope you initially feel underwhelmed. I want you to read that phrase again. It's more than just words, it's a truism that is vital for all of us to understand. We all have good and bad emotions that come in and out of our lives. Society wants you to bottle up the way that you feel. Our culture at UVA looks down upon having strong feelings. Why? Because we're all scared to admit that we're trying to fit in.
I challenge you to embrace your emotions. Don't hide them from the world. You're courageous for even reading this. You're courageous to keep fighting despite the odds. You're a warrior in a place that needs warriors. You're exactly the person this world needs. Laugh when you hear something fun, cry when you hear something sad. Express your emotions.
If you're reading this, know that I love you and care about you. We might never meet and that's okay. You're fighting difficult battles without any recognition. You're a silent warrior. I respect you for taking a step forward to understand more about who you are. You are worthy of your dreams and your life. Please just always remember:
I care about you.
Brian L., University of Virginia