As you may heard by now, a Rutgers University freshman took his own life off the George Washington Bridge. If the allegations are true, then this kid went through hell and never came out all because two fellow freshman get their kicks off tormenting him.
If there is any advise I could tell bullying victims is to keep on living, cherish what you already have, and life will get better. I can relate. My experience was obviously not as tragic, but one time I was a freshman at Rutgers and I survived.
Entering freshman year, I was optimistic to leave the life of an introvert and nerd and be who I want to be. Unfortunately, at that time I still lacked the social skills to be able to flourish in a social environment of a college dormitory, so all those hopes and expectations went down the toilet pretty quickly.
Within two weeks, I was having trouble getting to class and keeping a schedule. Late night and early morning cram sessions became part of my year and beyond.
With a month, I was a target of some nasty pranks. I knew who it was, a neighbor two doors down, but was too passive to do anything about it.
Within six weeks, I had my heart ripped out of my chest by a girl living upstairs. I didn’t know at the time I was acting like a total wuss, so it stung pretty bad.
As the semester progressed, I was skipping classes and falling asleep in classes I do attend. I couldn’t stand my roommate, who was a drug dealing slob who managed to do worse than me in school.
I was a fighting a losing battle to turn the marching band from a glorified cheering section to something respectable. I’ve learned to accept their role since then but I was absolutely frustrated back then as a member with no seniority. Pep band, which was a glorified cheering section, wasn’t much better.
By the end of the first semester, my grades were crap, I hated going outside, and the pranks escalated from leaving garbage in my room to throwing directly it at me.
At this point, nothing went my way and I spent most of my days feeling like one angry motherf*cker.
Second semester wasn’t much better. I got rejected by two frats. My social skills were in the crapper. My grades went up but still struggled with attending class and staying awake. Also, it was this point I threaten to basically murder my prankster neighbor. I wanted to fight everyone, including my friends.
But despite all this, I never found myself wanting to end it all. As soon as freshman year ended, I was able to coast through the rest of college with a few ups and downs. A few things helped me through.
I maintained a personal blog (still up here, go through 2003-2004 for the juicy bits. Sorry for the design). I wrote about everything, I trashed whomever I pleased. There were repercussions for my writing from my targets but damn it was worth it. Also, blogging led to coding as a hobby. And that hobby has led to the career I have to today. I went from raging against life to raging against browser bugs.
I still hang out with a few of my friends I made freshman year to this day. I may have hated just about everyone at the time, but the few I didn’t hate I cherished. Anyone thinking about ending it and believing no one will care, you are very wrong.
In some ways I can understand the defendants’ perspective, as they were trying to survive too. One has to understand that bullying is a vicious cycle rather than a divided between bullies and the bullied. If you ever find yourself a target, don’t take it out on someone else and most definitely not think about suicide. If there is one thing my experience taught me is that everyday of living is a victory.
It’s unfortunate I nor anyone else was able to relay this to the victim. RIP.