People of Central – Alyssa Shanburn

Story by Danielle Patrick

Photo by Tess Ware

It’s common to say that going to college can be like going on a rollercoaster. There are many ups and downs, but how one copes with their experience shows how it makes them stronger.

Central Michigan University sophomore Alyssa Shanburn shared an experience she had in high school that carried over to her freshman year at CMU.

“All throughout high school, I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety,” Shanburn said. “I went through a time where I had a lot of panic attacks every day and then at one point, it stopped.”

Towards the end of her freshman year at CMU, her anxiety came back where she experienced panic attacks.

“The thought of going back home and everything changing made me very anxious. I was really excited to come back to CMU and have a fresh start,” Shanburn said.

Not only does CMU make Shanburn feel at home, but it’s helped with her mental health.

“All of the things that I went through with my anxiety, panic attacks and depression decreased when I came here,” she said. “CMU made me feel at peace and I felt that I belonged here.”

Shanburn’s passion is teaching. She wants to teach at a middle school in Troy, Mich. and start a group similar to AWOD (A World Of Difference). Shanburn was part of this group for two years where she taught middle schoolers once a month.

By being a part of this group, Shanburn knew she wanted to teach. “AWOD helped me a lot. It wasn’t just about the teaching, it was also about being a community, working together and always having people there,” Shanburn said.

Shanburn had no doubts that CMU would provide her with the most positive energy. She realized that her anxiety will never go away, but she can change how she copes with it. By creating a group like AWOD, she hopes to help people become aware of mental health issues.