When I first visited Cornell, I was unreasonably concerned with questions like how similar this school is to Hogwarts. Is Beebe Lake like the Black Lake? Where is the Harry Potter dining hall? Or the Harry Potter library? Looking back, I should have been more concerned with questions like, how well is the student health center rated?
A recent column titled “Why I’m Choosing Not To Seek Professional Mental Health Care” worried me greatly. I respect the writer’s ability to make her own choices, but I am writing to disagree vehemently with the article’s argument that lack of personal responsibility is the cause of mental illness. In ambiguously referencing “mental health” without defining her usage of the term, the author failed to make the distinction between transient mental health struggles, such as being stressed at one point, and an ongoing chronic disease, such as generalized anxiety, depression or seasonal affective disorder. There is a difference here, and it’s not negligible. The article suggests that things like “a call, an emptied afternoon” are all that she has needed in the past to restore balance to her mental health — and it’s great that she is coming to that realization.
A well-meaning friend recently responded to my apology with an invitation to try going on antidepressants. After I politely declined, he insisted that it worked wonders for him and suggested I really think about it again. And so I have, and I stand by my initial position. I am accountable for my own mental wellness. Me not opting for professional help means I do not want to outsource the work I know I have cut out for me; it is not my refusal to admit a problem.
The first few weeks of the school year is full of new opportunities: classes to take, clubs to join and friends to make. With over 1,000 student groups available and even more courses offered, the options seem endless. Students often find their schedules tightly packed as they try to fit as many classes, work opportunities and extracurriculars into their day. As the semester goes on, students can find themselves burning out as they try to stay on top of all of their responsibilities. It’s therefore not surprising that, in recent years, more and more orientation events encourage students to practice self-care to try and avoid burning out.