Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

you asked me 

where do i get my strength from? where do i get the strength 

to persist? to persevere? to smile? 

the reality is that 

i don’t have that strength. the reality is that 

we all have that strength. 

and that strength is the ability to fully embrace one’s pains. 

to fully embrace and to hug that hurt. 

to hug those external forces which compress us into tears. hug them tight. 

hold them close. hold these pains within your heart. 

strength is to realize that we are not supposed to be unphased by these pains. the moon is not always full. strength is to embrace these pains and to be crippled by them and to fall down. 

the forest flourishes upon decay. 

to be toppled by these pains and to be pushed down and to be able to smell the floor while you rest upon it. 

this is strength. 

to roll in the dust dirt and sh*t that the world’s boots have colonized our homes with. 

this is strength. 

to soak it up. not to ‘suck it up’. to truly soak up this 

dust dirt and sh*t. and to be overwhelmed by it. 

and to be so stuck trapped 

and oppressed by it. to stay down there for a little while. 

for a long while. 

for as long as it takes. 

and to stay conscious. knowing knowing that you will eventually stand up again. 

knowing that you will be able to walk away. 

this is strength. 

to use that pain as a pathway 

towards human empathy. to realize that all hardship 

is to be learned from. to truly feel it. 

to truly feel it. 

this is strength. 

to feel overwhelmingly weak 

and to cry. strength. 

to break down. 


knowing that you will eventually stand up again. 

to feel overwhelmingly weak 

and to continue. 

this is strength. 

to feel weak knowing. this is strength. 

weakness is to feel strong. weakness is to feel strong amidst the pain. weakness is to pretend. weakness is to lie on that floor and say ‘everything is ok’. weakness is to learn to love that floor. weakness is to become complacent with that floor. weakness is to suppress the fact that you’ve been pushed down. 

weakness is to stand up and to forget that you’d just fallen. 

you are strong. 

you are strong. 

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

Student Mental Health: What’s Going on at Stanford?