UNTOLD: A Campus Diary Story

We know the world is experiencing unprecedented challenges, especially for our college students.  They are impacted by these world and local events as they continue to face the underlying stress of student life.  It is

We know the world is experiencing unprecedented challenges, especially for our college students.  They are impacted by these world and local events as they continue to face the underlying stress of student life.  It is well-documented that mental health issues in the college student population nationwide are a growing concern and with current events, at times,  these issues are magnified.

 

In the Spring of 2020, MTSU and MTSU Center for Health and Human Services (CHHS) partnered with UNTOLD Originals, a global storytelling movement to create a national pilot entitled Campus Diaries: Behind Every Smile to help fill a need to “share one’s story” and to be heard.  The “Dear Diary” pages were written diaries submitted anonymous and serve the purpose of a therapeutic approach.  It allowed the students to express how they feel, and get to also see that they are not alone by reading other “Dear Diary” submissions. Topics that came from the diary submissions project consisted of anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-harm, abuse, addiction, etc.  We also learned about their accomplishments and resilience.

 

Through our UNTOLD Project, Unconditionally Her wishes to periodically share these stories.  We hope they resonate in some way to your life.

 

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Dear Diary,

 

With all the insanity going on, being separated from so many of my family and now graduation postponed, I should be sad.

 

But I’m not.

 

Today, I got the call.  I beat cancer.  Yes, I said it.  I beat cancer.   It’s so hard not to share with my friends, but the truth is, I never did share, so hopefully through this entry, everyone who will read will celebrate.   For two years, it was unknown to anyone – my friends, my professors, my classmates – but I have been fighting something so much bigger than what I felt people would understand – so I fought silently.

 

Two years ago, summer was spent having two surgeries and then radiation.  I didn’t think I could come back for my junior year, but I did.  It was hard.  I was scared.  Too scared. I thought no one would understand, so I didn’t share. I didn’t share I could no longer have babies.  I didn’t share I couldn’t walk across campus without being in pain from the surgery.  I didn’t share why I didn’t want to go out and eat.  All I wanted to do was find that end goal of graduation and getting the all-clear. When I rang the bell after my last treatment, I rang it alone. But, I was still so proud.  The waiting game to get the final “all clear” came today – just in time for graduation.  It’s MY graduation gift to myself.   It’s MY triumph.  And while I would tell anyone who asked me to always find your support group, today was MY day.  I am celebrating and I am sharing my celebration with you.

 

To whoever may read this, never give up on your dreams.  Love harder.  Dance sillier.  Pray with great fervor.  Giggle every day.   Just never, EVER give up.

 

I BEAT CANCER, today. What did you do?

 

Now, for that Masters Degree…

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Unconditionally Her