Updating ourselves, not our statuses

Diana Anaya/Contributing Writer

There is not one catch-all answer to explain why suicide rates continue to rise for university students. The new environment, the masses of students, the pressure of doing well, and the cost of attendance is enough to make anyone crack, but these are only some of the possible causes.

The Counseling and Psychological Services office is open to walk-ins and have a variety of help groups for students to attend, although they could use brighter decorations and overall look so the building doesn’t feel like a ward.

I think what has been contributing to the rise in suicides in universities is our increased dependence and faith in technology.

The end of high school is heartbreaking for many reasons, but the standout reason is the loss of relationships. You’re yanked out of an environment that helped foster friendships and form tight knit groups, left to face a reality that your friendships may wither away.

When you attend university, you can create new relationships that ease the pain of the loss of friends and family, especially if you move to a new city or state. But technology has stifled the desire to make new friends, which is difficult enough in a commuter school such as FIU, where no one even dares to make eye contact. And if you’re attending a university away from family and friends, it can take a serious toll on your psychological health.

We’re fooled by the illusion that emails, texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype and the slew of other social platforms can replace real life relationships. Keeping friendships going just through these forms of communication requires a level of dedication from both parties that quickly becomes a chore, and that’s not even mentioning long distance relationships.

The truth is that nothing can replace having someone right there next to you, seeing them every day or a few times a week.

Social networking sites are a joke–few people really use these websites to communicate with one another, posting silly updates and wishing someone a happy birthday when the reminder pops up.

In fact, most of our ‘friends’ on Facebook constitute people we know but don’t really talk to. But we buy into this myth, allowing ourselves to be consumed by it. And when our high school friends begin to text less and less, meet new people and move forward with their lives, we’re left alone with no real, live human being to talk to.

I’m sure everyone has heard of the no-social-media challenge, where for either two weeks or a month, depending on the challenge, you don’t use any form of social media. This is a nice idea, but I believe it can be taken further. Make this a lifestyle choice: limit yourself to a certain amount of instances in which you can check in to each of these social media sites per day. Look around every once in awhile when waiting for a class to start or when sitting outside; hell, even smile at someone!

Obviously this is not the sole reason suicide rates have gone up for university students. But the loneliness of a campus filled with unfriendly, technology obsessed students could be the tipping point.