We need to support each other on campus
As a young alumnus who still regularly reads The Daily Californian, I was really saddened when I read about the apparent suicide of Larkin Brogan. I did not know Larkin. I didn’t know who she was or what she was like, what she did for fun or what made her smile. But I feel like in many ways I can relate to her struggle, and perhaps this is the reason why I’ve taken the news of her death so hard.
While I cannot claim to know the personal struggles Larkin was going through, I do know what it’s like to feel lonely and depressed at Cal. I think a lot of you do, too. This is the reason why I’m writing to you today, because I feel like we, as members of the Cal community, could have done more to help Larkin.
Please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying — this isn’t an accusation. I know all too well about the complexities of mental health and the struggles of depression. I don’t mean to put anyone down or make it seem like this tragedy is somehow somebody’s fault.
I also don’t need to tell you that between midterms, finals, papers, labs and not to mention grad school or job prep — life at Cal can get very hectic, very quickly. But in the midst of all the hullabaloo, there are people who can easily become overwhelmed, slip through the cracks and feel helpless and lonely.
Feeling lonely on a campus with a student body of more than 30,000 students sounds silly, but during your years at Cal, you will be faced with ample amounts of stress, frustration and loneliness. And I guess what I’m saying is: We, as a Golden Bear community, should slow down every once in a while and take a little more interest in each other. The Tang Center is a great resource, but it’s not the only way of addressing mental health issues.
During my freshman orientation in 2005, we were encouraged to “make Cal yours,” whether that meant picking up a piece of trash or joining one of Cal’s myriad clubs. We were instilled the idea of Cal not just being our university, but also our community and a newfound family — something you took pride in.
In the wake of Larkin’s death, I urge you to renew your pledge to make Cal yours — but this time in a different way.
Please, the next time you see someone who looks sad on the UC Berkeley campus or elsewhere, if you haven’t heard from a friend in a while or you run into that shy person in the dorms who never goes out, take a second and talk to them. Let them know that you’re there, you’re going through a hard time too, and that we’re all in it together.
— Arno Akobyan, 2009 UC Berkeley alum
Everyone should be able to share sidewalks
The argument in favor of ballot Measure S uses the word “menacing” in its description of homeless people. I was angry and sad when I first saw that. Homeless people are like anybody else, including students and merchants. Some aren’t polite or respectful, and some will put a smile on the face of anyone who stops to say hello.
But I understand discomfort with homeless people. I grew up with it, just like I grew up uncomfortable around LGBTQ people and people of color.
I would never want my discomfort to be a reason for banishing anyone from a public space. My discomfort is my own to work with, and our public space is there for all of us.
I plan to vote no on Measure S, and to work for what we really need: enough housing for everyone and a thriving community where everyone can share the sidewalk.
— Root Barrett,
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