This is the essay I have written for the choice prompt of the Coalition. I feel like I have good ideas, but the essay is lacking, especially towards the end. Any suggestions, especially specific ones, would be appreciated.
Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
I love you. Thank you for being my rock all these years. Try not to grieve when I'm gone- find comfort in the fact that I am free."
I skimmed over the first line of the letter I had just received from my best friend, Brooks. His handwriting was messy, but his message to me quickly became clear. Realization and panic washed over me as tears seared the corners of my eyes. My heart began to beat out of my chest as I scrambled for my phone and began to dial his number. One time. Two times. Six times. Every call went unanswered. When I finally got a hold of his brother thirty minutes later, he was gone. The day of Brooks' suicide was the worst that I've ever lived through - yet it has taught me more about myself than I could have ever learned on my own.
During the first few weeks after Brooks died, my world crumbled around me. My grades suffered dramatically during the hardest year of high school and I became severely disconnected from those I was closest to. However, as weeks passed, it became easier to reread his note and begin to try and understand the burdens that he carried before his death. The ways in which he described his struggles coming to terms with his identity as a young queer person have had the biggest impact on the way that I perceive others and the struggles they may face behind closed doors. I spent dozens of hours reading research journals documenting suicide and depression and visited the psychiatric wing of my local hospital as often as I could to speak with the patients there. As I uncovered just a few of the complicated intricacies of the human mind, the effects of my destructive emotional state weakened and my passion for psychiatry and mental health grew into what could only be described as an obsession.
Brooks' suicide not only taught me the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health in America but also helped me realize my love of psychology. Studying the human brain is a passion that I cannot wait to turn into a career and I know that in the future, I will be able to change thousands of lives through my research and be able to prevent thousands of deaths through my compassion and connections with others.