May 23, 2019 | 66° F

You'll never walk alone: Support systems make us better

Support systems are not easy to find, especially on a rigorous schedule. There is a level of maintenance that involves a messy form of engagement, and sometimes even the closest of friends and family fight. Nevertheless, having different kinds of people to provide an emotional place of shelter or simply a voice among the ruckus can change one's life for the better.

"Friends who care and listen to your problems as well as help you forget about them by doing fun things (are important)," said Tracey Miller, a Mason Gross School of Arts senior. There’s a huge world out there and sometimes it takes another person to display the many different roads one can take each day.  

College is a time for plenty of opportunities to learn how, exactly, to be a person. The growth available from becoming much-needed role models in a community, to the development needed to build a lasting career, runs parallel to the journey of becoming helpful companions for others. 

How many times does a person hear what another has to say in class and find a commonality that just can't be ignored? Schoolwork is terrifying without a study buddy and life’s struggles are difficult without a foxhole friend to join in on the battle. 

The endeavor to create, build and flourish in a social world can be nerve-wracking but also thrilling. Sometimes, it's by chance or by design. Occasionally, friends meet through mutual friends or they're assembled through matchmaking at the same party or the same car ride from one club to another, one class to another. 

What's important is to reach out beyond yourself. It's an act of courage, and not one to be underestimated or downplayed. Building a network isn't professional, it's social. Emotional connections act as a safeguard for tough times ahead. 

"Individualized treatments and genuine care is what I look for," said June Lee, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. In so many ways, it's a pivotal point to stand for a certain value in oneself and to look for it in others. 

It almost goes without saying, but it's important to have someone tell you off fairly often – honesty is important. The comfort of having a small community of friends to go to in moments where fatigue covers the entire body or the world seems far too vast that it's dizzying is crucial. It's healthy to have a place to rest and familiar shoulders to lean on.

There are so many different words for this type of support system. Friends, family, community, brothers, sisters, rivals, companions, pals – but what's so exciting is that people get to choose what to call it, they can choose exactly what they want to see. Whether it be when they open their phone or decide to confide in someone. It's at this precipice, that freedom comes with the ability to choose a world beyond our internal world. Choosing a home isn't a chore, it can be a blissful way of establishing who to become and who to love. 

Haolun Xu

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