Life by Brandon Molina (2nd Place Winner)


Created by…

A checklist of value


You and me

We wake up every day
With a job to do

Suppress your emotions
Don’t let them break through

Have all the answers
You’re the one they look to

Ignoring our emotions…

Has become nothing new

I am society
Who’s rules dictate

If you live free

Follow the group

Keep up with me

Become useful

…a nobody
Follow the line
And latest trend

Escape from reality
Let’s all pretend

Glued to our phones

The least social we’ve ever been

And yet we call ourselves…


Mental health

The taboo of all words

A Genderless ailment

Who’s mugshot
Is Blurred

A cancerous killer
Who chips away over time

Who’s existence is ignored

With the phrase
“I’m fine”

Stay away

Society’s eyes

The things we value
And what we normalize

Emotions flood
Boil and rise

The mask we wear
And every disguise

Submerged in self-hatred
Surrounded by lies

A secret we keep

And every tear we cry

As the level…

Begins to rise

We keep the water
From reaching our eyes

Mask the surface
And cover it with pride

For no one knows what we hide

Stress and anxiety
Life will provide

Yet in society…


Is always…


For those out there
Who fight battles every day

Fighting for loved ones
Making the decision to stay

I understand
The pain you’re in

The longest road
And places you’ve been

For not every battle can be seen…


Most of the time

They happen…



Nothing stays the same

Or ever has since…

The only thing permanent…

Is impermanence

Things in life will happen
There are battles you will lose

But the only thing stopping you…

…is you

Our failures try to convince us

We’re defeated
And done

Unobtainable expectations of perfection…

Achieved by…

…no one

Every lesson taught…
…and learned

Every scar fought…
…and earned

Forges us…
…in the furnace of life

Living on the edge…
…like the blade of a knife

Time heals all life’s wounds
If you give it the chance
You can too…

Because happiness will find you…
…out of the blue

Everything is temporary

…what you’re going through

There’s no better time to heal…

Than now…
…in the present

Every day is a new day…
And today is no different

You’ve just started life
You have so much to do

Unlimited potential
With a new point of view

You have so many talents
And gifts…
…to give

You have loved ones counting on you
And a whole life to live

I promise you’ll look back
On days like today

And thank yourself…

…for choosing to stay


The National Library of Medicine found that almost half of College students had a psychiatric disorder within the past year, with less than 25% actually seeking help.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 73% of College students experience a mental health crisis

More than 80% of College students felt overwhelmed with 45% having feelings of hopelessness

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in adolescents


Abdu-Glass, E., Schlozman, S., & Beresin, G. (2017, March 6). The College Mental Health Crisis: A Call for Cultural Change – Part 2. MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds.

Blanco, C., Okuda, M., Wright, C., Hasin, D. S., Grant, B. F., Liu, S.-M., & Olfson, M. (2008). Mental Health of College Students and Their Non–College-Attending Peers. Mental health of college students and their non-college-attending …

Survey Reports | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2016).

Active Minds. (2019). Statistics – Active Minds. Active Minds. Statistics – Young Adult Mental Health Stats and Figures – Active Minds


The Aims Read program is an initiative of the Council for Equity and Inclusion. Each year a book is selected as a common read we can all learn from and grow our understanding of our world’s human diversity. A Writing Contest closed out our 2022-23 year working with the title Tell Me Who You Are: A Road Map for Cultivating Racial Literacy by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi. We asked our campus community to submit written works reflecting on personal intersectionality (interconnected social identities) or “othering” experiences to fit with the main themes from the book. Entries were blind-judged by 3 faculty and staff members. The Aims Read is proud to highlight the winners of the contest here in the Aims Review! Their voices are important insights into some of the many diverse perspectives within our college.