Winter Blues

Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko, Officer Mark Chavis

So let’s review. It’s January at Case Western Reserve University which means it is cold outside (like Nanook of the North cold), the sky is the same battleship grey it has been since November, and there are approximately two hours of sunlight a day. Academic coursework is back in full swing and everywhere you go you are surrounded by a chorus of other people coughing, which serves as a reminder that it’s only a matter of time until you get sick and join the coughing zombie herd. Fun times.

Spring will come eventually, or so the calendar tells us, but in the meantime depression can creep into just about anyone’s life. Society often sends a message to college students that “these are the best years of your life” (no pressure there) and while it is true that there are some unique things about your college years, there is also stress, which can come from pressure to perform academically or athletically, being far from home, unfortunate relationships (romantic or otherwise) and a host of other factors. Plus it’s really, really cold outside.

The good news is that there are lots of resources here at CWRU to help you if you feel you need them. The CWRU counseling center can be reached at 368-5872, or you can stop in at the counseling center in Sears 220 to make an appointment—CWRU counselors are considered privileged sources, meaning anything you tell them is confidential. There are also plenty of other options in terms of people to talk to, ranging from the Women’s or LGBT Centers to religious organizations, international student organizations or your favorite professor, coach or RA.

The key thing is to talk to someone if you are feeling overwhelmed by it all and not to try and go it alone. Every year there are students who take their own lives at American universities, and in many cases these are tragedies that could have been avoided if help had been sought. Suicide is not a grand gesture but a messy tragedy that inevitably leaves a lot of pain in its wake. So if you are feeling down, take advantage of available resources, and remember that spring is coming—I promise!

On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko & Officer Mark (The Crossing Guard) Chavis of CWRU PD. Send feedback to this or other columns at