You’re walking on a beaten path. The air brisk with the sound of running water trickling in the distance; trees surround you like a canopy, you suddenly feel minuscule compared to the colossal expanse of nature enveloping you. Your companion is walking at a swift pace fifty yards ahead of you, dodging every boulder and patch of loose ground with great ease. You, however, have tripped several times already, over obstacles your companion easily passed. Wiping the sweat from your brow, you reach for the canteen in your backpack. As you unscrew the lid and tilt the bottle to your mouth, your only comfort is a few lukewarm drops of water that all too quickly dissolve away, leaving the incessantly adherent copper taste lingering in your mouth. Looking around at your surroundings, you suddenly feel overwhelmed and alone in the vacant expanse before you. Why is this so hard for me? Embarrassed, you continue on — much to your discomfort. Because even though your lungs are silently shrieking for you to slow down, even though your muscles reverberate a constant throbbing ache with every step and your body is chilled to the core, you would rather endure this pain than have your companion notice you breaking down.

This scenario, in fact, is a mirror image of what individuals deal with in their daily lives to some degree. As humans, facing difficulty in a world often driven by greed and self-satisfaction is inevitable. You notice an ever constant chatter and buzz as individuals race to fulfill their own personal agendas, which often leaves you feeling utterly alone in a crowded room. It is not surprising, given this general setting, that you may not feel safe or comfortable verbalizing your internal battles, as the world we live in views struggle as weakness — a barrier getting in the way between you and your own potential. Like the companion in the story, not everyone breaks down in situations that you in fact find yourself drowning in. However, it is important to remember that everyone has their own trek that they must venture on.

By dictionary definition, A Trek means a long arduous journey, especially one made on foot. We walk through life, stumbling as we go and doing our best to cover up the scrapes and bruises we acquire along the way just to keep our shriveling pride in tact. We hope that the few drops of comfort we absorb will dull the pain, but these comforts are unfortunately always temporary. Today, college students across the U.S. are battling depression at a record rate. In fact, one of the highest causes for this increasingly growing issue is due to the fact that young adults are too frightened to reach out for help when they need it. Studies have shown that young adults suffering from depression tend to resort to other coping mechanisms such as the use of drugs, alcohol, and risky sexual activity. These actions, like the nearly empty canteen, only temporarily dull the pain and lead to worsening symptoms.

This trek that we call life can sometimes almost feels like a setup for failure. Sometimes the path is ridged and unstable, all while a storm overhead thrashes you helplessly in every direction. It is important to remember that struggling in the midst of difficulty is perfectly justifiable, as everyone has their own battles they face along the way. So, instead of hiding your pain, call out to your companion and verbalize that you need a helping hand. Life is too short to walk it alone, especially when what you may need most at times is company. Never forget that the trek we embark on is also a beautiful one, and there’s nothing wrong with simply being still and soaking in all the amazing things that make living so worthwhile. We are here to find companionship, and create relationships with those around us that positively impact our lives. So, don’t walk your trek alone any longer, because it’s a much more beautiful journey when it can be shared with others.