Letter to the editor: Get involved and find your community

Connor Spielmaker

This essay originally appeared in the March issue of Spinnaker Magazine. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

Connor Spielmaker.

Last month, I read Katie’s message on seeking out the solutions to your problems, and I wanted to respond from my perspective. I’m a highly involved sophomore. I’m Vice President of my fraternity, Vice President of Standards for the Interfraternity Council, and Station Manager at Spinnaker Television, and that’s just on campus. I have a great family, great friends and a good time.

So, now that you know that I come to you from a somewhat relatable standpoint, I’ll be the first (or I guess second — thanks Katie) to admit that I have problems. I might be the most vocal guy in the office, or the first to volunteer to help out with something fraternity-related, but I’ve got stress and disappointment in my life too.

 My first semester was rough. I came to UNF feeling incredibly prepared for what was to come, but when I got here I was astounded at how different life was. Adjustment wasn’t the easiest thing. I also don’t really like to talk about my feelings too much, so that didn’t help.

Long story short, after taking a few trips to the counseling center and getting more involved on campus, I got out of my rut.

I’ve accomplished a lot in my time on campus, and I’m happy with what I’ve been able to do. But the reason I was able to accomplish so much was because I had help.

So, to the point.

Katie talked about the counseling center. Those words reminded me of the facilities available here on campus but they also reminded me that those aren’t the only things.

Because I’m so involved on campus, I’ve met and been impacted by hundreds of people. Greek life, club life, SG life, Spinnaker life, campus ministry life — whatever it is you choose, there are tons of new relationships to be formed.

When life got me down, I turned to my fraternity brothers for help and advice. I got more involved in my job at Spinnaker to find my drive and motivation again. I immersed myself in the opportunities that were all around me, and I found the spark again.

Don’t get me wrong: The counseling center and other campus services are great and do amazing work that saves lives on this campus. But I know there are some of you that were like me and felt that you weren’t “bad enough” to seek professional help. If that’s you, talk to a friend. Or a brother. Or a fellow club member. Or a coworker. Just find a relationship and talk. The person you talk to might help guide you toward professional help, or they might be exactly what you need to pull through.

Either way, you’ll make it.

There’s community here at UNF. If you haven’t found yours, I dare you to look. I promise it’s there.

Yours truly,

Connor Spielmaker