Column: Help and support surround you


By Jessica Skaggs

Life is full of stepping stones. And for many students, attending this college is a stepping stone of sorts. For some, it’s a stop before going head first into a four-year university. For others, it’s an opportunity to build a better career, or a chance to simply continue to learn.

Stepping stones are needed to build the path we each choose to follow. However, sometimes there are stumbling blocks that cause delay in our journey. Unemployment, hunger, depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, grief and fear, to name a few.

But I adamantly believe no one is meant to face obstacles alone.

In the last couple of weeks, I watched a very close friend go through immense heartache. She lost one of her high school friends, Brad Cook. Or as she always referred to him, Brad O’Billy boy. Although I never knew Brad, I wish I could have met him.

Friends, family and complete strangers volunteered countless hours and resources searching for Brad. And when the fullness of tragedy set in, they didn’t leave.

At least 300 people were in attendance at Cook’s funeral Monday afternoon. Mixed looks of grief, shock and gratitude were evident on his family and friends faces.

I thankfully have never been close with death. Even still a part of me only can only grasp the word, and not the reality of it. These last few weeks however, have only solidified my beliefs that life was never meant to be lived solitarily.

Since I have been on staff, I have become more aware of the various resources and opportunities within this place called a community college. From food pantries, to internships and counseling, this college has a lot to offer. Even the controversial reading co-requisite ultimately sought to better academic careers of students unable to successfully read at the college level. And although as an institution, it may have its flaws, there is without a doubt a motive to improve the lives of all students who walk through the doors.

So take advantage of what this college has to give. You’re not weird or strange or a burden for doing so. Johnson County and this college are brimming with resources and people who are willing to help you. Don’t try to do life alone. Alone is overwhelming. Talk with a friend, a counselor, or even with your favorite professor.

The stumbling blocks of life are far easier to overcome with good company.

Contact Jessica Skaggs, managing editor, at


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