“One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with was the suicide of a friend. It was hard to cope and figure out how to convey the emotions I was feeling and move on from it. I like to put my life in words and music, and I felt like a lot of the times, I was repeating the same process. I kept bringing her up in songs. I felt like I wasn’t really moving on, and that wasn’t helping me move on from it. That was really difficult because it just made feel like I could’ve helped, or I could’ve been there. It also made me feel like if other people I knew were going through the same thing, I wouldn’t be able to help them. It was a lot of internal struggles with that and thinking that it was my fault that it happened. It was a lot to deal with.

It’s kind of better now. I guess a big thing was time, and the music and conversations I’ve had with people. I got to perform a song with a verse that mentions her and the situation. I think that was like a release for me – to have that story be put out to the world and to have that off my shoulders a little bit for other people to hear how I felt about it. I still think about her a lot, but it’s not at the forefront of my brain anymore.

I’ve moved past the grief, and now I want to help other people deal with their problems a little better. Whether it be a friend or a person that I’m not close to, I just want to let them know that I’m a person to talk to and somebody with empathy. I think empathy is a big thing for people to have, not judging, just listening. I know from experience that it’s nice to have someone in your corner and somebody to talk to. So I feel that it’s really important to talk about it, help people cope, help yourself cope, and help yourself move on from those things and get better.”

– Justin, sophomore computer science major from Biloxi, Miss.