Tragedy Turns Inspiration
Brittani Harvey, Division 2, 12th grade

Death. Death comes in many forms. It can come at random, or it can arrive willingly by a decision. Decisions. Decisions make up an individual's future. Future. An individual's future can end abruptly due to a decision. The suicide of my seventeen year old friend provided me with a needed model for success because it solidified my career aspirations, enhanced my empathetic appeal towards others, altered my perception on the effects of suicide, and pushed me to value life and how each of us can make an impact.

Psychology. The sudden, unexpected death of my friend solidified my career aspirations because her suicide allowed me to consider career possibilities in the psychology field. I feel that psychology’s purpose is to make a positive influence on another’s emotions, behavior and character because the science aims at finding solutions to improve health. Since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to provide a positive impact on others through my career choice. I am now more acutely aware that some people have mental disorders and feel isolated from society. Those individuals require help to improve their mental state. After my friend’s death, my fascination with psychology skyrocketed because I personally observed the effects of depression and the toll that the disability can take on an individual. I set goals for my future which includes having a positive impact in my community, helping others in need and discovering new approaches or techniques in the psychology field. Her death now serves as a tragic reminder for me to always strive for success in my career because I have a sincere interest in positively influencing others in my future.

Appeal. The death of my friend enhanced my empathetic appeal because her suicide forced me to recognize the harmful effect of mental negativity that often exists in people. Prior to her death, I lacked the motivation to take observation in an individual's behavior. My personal ambition focused on pessimistic aspects of others and prevented me from allowing myself to take in consideration other's struggles. Her tragic death affected not only my perspective of life and suicide but also my appreciation for others around me. After her death, my perspective was altered on everyday tasks because I became highly aware that in order to affect others positively, I required a change in my understanding of an individual's behavior which resulted in my allowing others to trust me easier, my capability to respond to stress reasonably and my goal to provide others with new outlooks on internal struggles. In my future, I will continue to aim to improve other’s perspectives on stress and negativity. My friend, a young determined student and friend, lost her life unexpectedly to suicide which significantly impacted my awareness to look deeper into others and look for signs of trouble. Her death provides me with a new view on life which will benefit my future success in so many positive ways.

Affects. The death of my friend changed my perception on the effects of suicide because death not only affects a family but a community as well. Her death affected society both negatively and positively. My friend’s death affected society negatively because it lost a beloved individual and nobody will know the real reason. The community, saddened by the effects of her death bonded in new positive ways. Her death affected society positively because it brought the community closer and displayed the effects of depression among the most unlikely people which allowed the community to make suicide prevention more public. We wear purple shirts, sport purple pom poms on the cheer squad, and wear purple bracelets showing “WE nation” and encourage people to talk about suicide….not keep it quiet or behind doors. The community came together after her sudden death in new ways that supported others in a positive way and likely saved lives! Previous to her death, I perceived suicide as uncommon and not likely among individuals who appeared content because I had never had encountered the personal impact of suicide. After her death, I viewed suicide in a brand new way because anybody can suffer from a mental disorder and not seek help.

Future. My passion for helping others stemmed from my traumatic experience with the effects of suicide. I became very influenced by Psychology, youth groups and support systems after my friend’s death because I got to observe the positive affects these groups have on people. My recognition of how precious life is ignited my passion for psychology because I know that there are people who need some form of support system and I can be that person or help them find who that person is for them. My passion for psychology extends beyond just clinical but also to criminal and neurologically because every aspect of psychology interests me which allows me to have a range of possible branches of psychology to choose from. Life is precious and each one of us can make an impact with a little effort. The effort to ask your neighbor, friend, or stranger…”are you okay” can make a difference in their mental state and perhaps save someone’s life. Between my personal interactions and my career aspirations, I know that I can impact other lives in a remarkable way and am ready for that next step!
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