Content Warning: This episode contains descriptions of death and depression.
College isn’t easy. There’s a lot to feel overwhelmed about – student loans, study drugs, and the scariest thing of all… graduating. On this podcast, we talk to fellow college students about the things that are keeping us up at night. Join us every other Friday for a new episode of All Nighters.
It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday life of being a student. There’s always the next paper to start, midterm to study for, and Friday night out with friends to plan. Every once in a while, however, events at home or in our outside life happen that snap us out of the student mindset and put everything into perspective.
For college senior Roxy, a series of unexpected deaths and injuries began happening her sophomore year and continued for much of her time at Brown. She talks about what it was like being away from home, which left her removed from her family and largely alone to struggle through the aftermath.
“Summer before sophomore year was kind of a series of unfortunate events. My friend passed away in a car accident on 4th of July. Two months later during school another friend passed away in a car accident…Going back home for Christmas break, one of my childhood friends committed suicide, and then three days later my uncle passed away on Christmas day completely out of the blue.”
After these four deaths in rapid succession, she felt powerless to do anything to make them stop.
“I was basically living waiting for the next bad thing to happen, which is not a good way to live.”
Roxy returned to Brown for the spring semester, ready to use sports as an outlet for her emotions. She used to play Division I softball, yet a month into her sophomore season, she got a concussion, which forced her to spend the next two weeks alone in a dark room.
“When I was forced to be in a dark room with no tv, no phone, it was just me, myself and my thoughts so then I kind of went down this dark hole and got into a depression… It was hard to go through all that stuff; I didn’t really know how to grieve. It was hard to grieve one death, let alone four.”
Roxy was at a better place mentally going into her junior year, yet in November, there was a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California at Borderline Bar & Grill, which was a place she frequented regularly when she was home.
In addition, she has the misfortune of another concussion going into softball season, one that sidelined her for another month. The very week that she was cleared to even be back in the dugout, there was a freak accident; a foul ball hit her directly in the face.
“I just dropped to the ground, there was blood everywhere, I got rushed to the hospital… the doctors at the hospital told me that I was lucky to be alive, that the hit should have either killed me on impact or shattered half my face and I would have to be in like surgery for a month.”
For years, Roxy couldn’t grapple with why one bad thing was happening after another.
“For probably two years, every single day I felt like I had a target on my back…there would be a pit in my stomach every time my phone would ring.”
What got her through each trial and tribulation were her family, friends, and most importantly, her faith.
“This isn’t just something people talk about or this isn’t just something you see on tv, like faith is real, it’s what helps people wake up in the morning”
After being tested time and time again, Roxy eventually changed her outlook on both school and life.
“It made me change the way I looked at school…not that I put less emphasis on school I just know that family and friends and life experiences come first and come before the schoolwork…I started looking at all those deaths not as a bad thing but just a reminder that yes, life is fragile, like yes, anything could change at any second so just enjoy where you are and enjoy who you’re with.”