... of the holidays does tend to wear on one's soul. Things at the university are winding down. We're in the midst of final's week, and everyone is tired.... weary. A first year student brought me a Christmas card today. I've been worried about this young man all semester.
He came to the University full of expectations... and ready to conquer the world. He's not the kind of person who will be in the "in crowd", and while he wants to be, it's probably a blessing that he's not. At the start of the semester, he dove right in to everything he could get his hands on. He's not shy... and having been a shy, nerdy freshman once, I do have to admrie that.
Yet his veneer of bravado was so fragile. And I pick up on an incredible sense of angst from this young man. For the first time, I found myself almost fretting over him. I used to see him every morning, having breakfast in the student union. But then that stopped. And I wondered about him. He'd pop in occasionally... always bright and cheerful... but there was always something beneath that wasn't right.
Perhaps I'm being paranoid... there was a suicide on campus last year, by someone who "had it all together". He was dynamic and appeared to be on top of the world. So it wasn't surprising that the entire unversity community was stunned and heartbroken when he took his life.
I can't shake that memory. And I think that's why I worry about the first year student. I want to protect him... watch out for him. I fear for him... and what is underneath that bright and cheerful veneer. I even mentioned it to my boss.... who seemed surprised. Of course, I didn't go as far as to tell him what I really fear.
And now, after a really nice visit, I am a bit reassured. He really seems ok. He dropped a couple activities. They were taking too much time and his grades were suffering. We chatted for quite a while. The note in his Christmas card thanked me for being there for him.... for being helpful. I will hang on to this card. And I will continue to do what I can to help this brave young fledgling. And I will pray for him, that he continues to grow strong and that he finds happiness, and that he will someday soar!