Peer Health Educators X IfYoureReadingThis.org
If you're reading this, I am listening.
They’re easy to miss at first, all of those signs. Swept up in the wave of daily life, we tell ourselves that those little moments of self-doubt and inadequacy are nothing more than floating thoughts, minute bumps in an otherwise smooth road. As those thoughts bubble up, we push them further and further down, leaving them to be confronted another time. But each time this happens that pressure builds, and with the weight of every additional insecurity it becomes easier to give in to those feelings we once believed we could ignore and overlook.
I want to tell you that it’s normal, it’s human, and there is no shame. But neither is there shame in taking a moment for yourself, stepping back to check in with your feelings and thoughts. There is no shame in knowing your limit and standing resolute in your decision to say, “I’ve had enough.” And there is certainly no shame in reaching out for help when you feel it’s all too much to handle alone.
Just as we all approach life in different ways, it unfolds for each of us uniquely. And while there is no single best way to confront these crippling thoughts, we can always take the time to reflect on ourselves and our experiences, and we can always offer support to those around us.
I have been blessed in that my time on Grounds has provided me with a source of reliable peer support, a network of people who genuinely care about the well-being of every member of our community. But perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this Community of Trust is the willingness and readiness of each person to proactively reach out and check in with friends, neighbors, and complete strangers. The members of this community are always looking out to offer help, even when we are afraid to reach out for the very support we need.
I write this piece in the midst of what has been the most difficult period of my time here at UVA, and indeed the most difficult period of my life. I struggle daily with my identity, who I am and what I want to be, what changes I want to make at this University and in this world. I find myself paralyzed by the fear that I am not enough, not for those around me and especially not for myself. And in those moments, when those voices of doubt seem to drown out everything else, knowing that the people around me genuinely care about me empowers me to care for myself and to care for others.
It is not easy to overcome these struggles, but we can make it easier for ourselves and each other. Notice these thoughts as they arise, and remind yourself that you are enough. Take the time to check on your friends and peers, and never doubt your ability to serve as the light of someone’s day. Always remember that there is a music in your existence and a symphony to your being. Always remember that someone is listening.
Logan Brich, University of Virginia
This post is a part of a collaboration installment between IfYoureReadingThis.org and Peer Health Educators.
Our two organizations share the joint mission of creating a happier and healthier student body, and we encourage you to explore their resources and programs.
Peer Health Educators (PHEs) are a group of roughly 45 UVA students who are trained to educate their classmates about college health and wellness issues in a positive, interactive, fun, and nonjudgmental manner. Comprehensive training through a three-credit course prepares the PHEs to provide confidential patient education sessions; facilitate dynamic outreach programs; encourage physical, mental, and spiritual health; create informative awareness events; and promote community support to create a healthy culture. PHEs are trained to educate on mental wellness, nutrition, alcohol safety, and sexual health.
If you would like to request an outreach from the PHEs, go to tinyurl.com/requestanoutreach and fill out the form. If you would like to talk to a PHE in a one-on-one patient education session about any and all of the above-listed topics, either book a patient education online through healthyhoos.com or walk to the lower level of Student Health.
If you would like to learn more about the PHE program or would like to apply to become one, go to our tab in the student health website under “health and wellness” > “peer education”.