Column by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer
To all of you late-teens-early-20-something readers out there: are you desperately trying to prove (to yourself, your parents) that you are a real adult?
Are you terrified to reach out and ask for help? Would seeking assistance make you feel weak or incapable? Do you suffer from a myopic worldview that tricks you into thinking no one could ever understand what it feels like to be you?
I have some news for you – you aren’t special, and that’s a good thing.
At any given time, there are thousands of people who like the same TV shows as you., millions of people with the same religious views, sexual orientation or favorite animal and billions of people with same skin tone or eye color.
Of course, no one on the planet has the exact combination of traits as you, but none of your individual traits are unique in the purest sense of the word. Again, that’s a good thing. It is what allows us to form communities, and communities are the reason we humans hold dominion over this world.
Our species does not have the sharpest claws, the biggest muscles or strongest jaws; a huge percentage of animals on this planet could overpower us outright. Humanity won the battle for ecological supremacy because we realized we are stronger together.
There is a huge emphasis on “standing out from the crowd” placed on adolescents and young adults. The truth is, there is no such thing – the very act of standing out from the crowd puts you in a new crowd, and those new people are more like you.
Join a sports team, a book club – even a weekly Super Smash Bros. gathering. Locate places where people like yourself go to meet. You could be much more successful academically if you do.
This is especially important for young people of marginalized identities, and Murray State has plenty of groups specially tailored for those identities. The Muslim Student Organization, LGBTQ+ Alliance and the Black Student Council are only three examples. Get out there and find your people. You will need them.
There is a certain mythology around the concept of a Real American Young Adult. This superhuman student carries the weight of the world on their shoulders unflinchingly; they have a 4.0 GPA and a buzzing social life, they sleep enough and work out every day and always eat healthy. They never need tutoring, counseling or a doctor’s visit.
Stop trying to be this person. They do not exist. Lone wolves often eat carrion or tiny rabbits while the pack takes down a delicious deer. Find your pack.
Here is the thing no one tells you when you get to college: real adults ask for help, and they take advantage of the resources offered to them. If you have been sick for three weeks, go to Health Services. If you are struggling in a class, even if you have been an A student your entire life, take advantage of the free tutoring on campus. If you need someone to talk to, go to Counseling Services (trust me, I know how hard that last one can be).
There is never any shame in asking for help. You aren’t admitting weakness – you are just being a human being. If our ancestors never asked for help we would still be scratching out cave murals and eating rats for dinner. There are entire communities of people out there who feel the same way you do, and asking for their support is not a weakness, it is your greatest strength.
You are not alone. No one is.