Updated: 4/14//2011
author: The Editorial Board

EDITORIAL: Reach Out for Help When You, or Those Around You, Seem to Reach a Breaking Point

A little over a year ago, student Jason Hamilton, age 21, from NVCC Woodbridge, brought a gun to school and tried to shoot his math professor because he wasn't getting a good grade in the class. Luckily, the rifle jammed and no one was hurt. On March 28th 2011, he plead guilty to attempted murder and faces up to twenty years in prison.

For NOVA students, March 25th was the last day to officially withdraw from a class without penalties. However advertised, not all students had the knowledge or ability to withdraw from the classes they were not doing well in. We, the Loudoun Lantern editorial board, think that Hamilton’s story is one not to forget because any unhappy student, particularly those who may be battling can turn that fear of telling their parents that they are not doing well in a class into rage and do something that they will regret for the rest of their lives.

We would like to tell any student out there that feels stuck with a not up to par grade, that you have more options then you may know. You can talk with your professors and try to work something out with them. With hard work and determination, you can be steered in the right direction for the 2nd half of the semester and maybe get a C (which is transferable) instead of an F. Or if you do have an F -- know it's not the end of the world or by no means close to it. Maybe having an F can lift off the pressure and then you can really learn without the extra holdups.

And to mention it, everyone fails at one point or another. Some of our staff has failed classes before. Some have failed the same class twice in a row. Some got fired from past jobs. We’d like students to know that there’s always another way then hurting other people or yourself -- and that it is everyone's job to look out for their fellow students who may seem close to the edge.

Even if a student is fully engrossed in the mind play that all our depressed thoughts like to roll around in the mud with, there are counselors to talk to about it. Talk to your friends, talk to your family. Mull over your options and move forward. Some will move more slowly than others; that’s fine. Everyone goes at their own pace. We are all different, we’re all special and we all have worth. Take it one step at a time and make small changes along the way. There’s more out there and it gets better **

. * *Though this website is originally directed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth after the suicide of Tyler Clementi and Billy Lucas, we feel the message is the same.