I hate to say this. It feels like a generational betrayal. Yet I must admit — I am a snowflake. Undoubtedly so. I may not be a true millennial, but my snowflake-status is undeniable. The slightest hint of criticism and you'll find me in a little puddle of my own tears. Nonetheless, after two terms and many tissue-boxes, I feel at least partially qualified to offer some thoughts as to how the solitary snowflake might navigate his or her emotionally fragile Cambridge experience

"I started to sing George Michael's 'Faith' to myself, and surprisingly enough, it worked"

Stop trying to be independent.

As an insecure teen, it was always this independent ideal that kept me in denial about my snowflakish temperament. The phrase 'strong independent woman' is tossed about more than peas in a school cafeteria. It's just everywhere. If someone were held at gun point and forced to utter only two of those words together, and thus split up the fearsome threesome, they'd probably choke on their own tongue. 

In defining this independence, we're told time and time again not to rely on friends and families too much, not to let things get us down. Yet, should we abandon all emotional support, we'd be as dependent on our conception of ourselves as independent as we were on that support in the first place. Independence is, in essence, an unachievable ideal. 

So why do we continue to worship it? And what is it about needing help that's so shameful? When it comes to men, we squeal and squawk about toxic masculinity and how acceptable it is to need help. However, yet regarding women, we're all too happy to slather them in this exact masculinity and berate them for their overly female dependence. A far more productive path of empowerment would be to encourage people to depend on a wider circle of loved ones, or more varied sources of self-esteem — no matter their gender.

Start talking about it. 

I think I've leaned on more people in this last term than I probably have in the last five years. In fact, I've been leaning so much that my support network probably resembles a large mass of bodies piled atop of one another. But the beauty of embracing dependence is the realisation that you have this little pool of people you can always reach out to.

Chatter itself can, of course, be useless in that it often conceals more than it betrays, but when directed towards the trigger of tears, it can suddenly take on a Hemsworth-rivalling heroic quality. The self-consciousness within conversation, which forces us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, is often enough to make depressive mentalities and emotional triggers glaringly obvious. 

But it's not always that simple. Delving into the genuinely upsetting stuff often leaves one feeling vulnerable and misunderstood. But once you've traced the fierce flurry of tears from the bananas you forgot to buy, all the way back to that peskily dismissive comment, the healing process can finally begin. 

Remember to have faith.

When I was younger, I spent most of my skiing holidays quietly sobbing at the top of slopes. My family would speed off ahead and leave me there to contemplate my imminent death. As I grew older, I started to sing George Michael's 'Faith' to myself, and, surprisingly enough, it worked. The tears were gone. The odd looks I received sent me into fits of giggles. It was really that simple. Who knew that George Michael could be such a salient source of psychological resilience. 

Just like the slope, a bigger picture often seems untenable. It paralyses us. We're afraid we won't do well enough, so we choose not to work at all. We're afraid we won't find someone better, so we throw ourselves into relationships we know aren't working. Someone could probably wield a machete right in front of us, and we'd go "Ok, clearly he's had a troubled upbringing, but we can work with that!" Or maybe it's just me.

Faith doesn't have to be difficult to find, though. In fact, all it takes is a reminder of previous situations that seemed hopeless. Even GCSEs seemed unmanageable at one point. And yet, here you are. Anyone reading this can at least say this much. You're still here, living and breathing — and that in itself is something worth celebrating.

All this faith and acceptance talk of course doesn't change the fact that I'm a snowflake. I still can't claim to be a vision of emotional stability, and things are invariably more pear-shaped than peachy.  But I am learning to speed up the process by which I manage the emotionally exaggerated response, find the real issue at hand, rediscover the faith that everything will be ok, and move on happily. And, for now, that's enough.

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