Being one of the thousands of students at Penn State, it can be easy to feel like your voice is lost in the crowd. No matter how small of an impact you may think you have, each voice counts and it’s important to always stay true to yourself and strive for what you believe in.
Alexa Faas, a sophomore studying biology, uses her voice to speak up for her beliefs and gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. After coming to Penn State, Faas discovered her bisexuality and has learned to embrace it as an important part of herself and uses it as driving force to fight for equality for all people.
Once I grew into myself, I realized I wanted to be a voice for other people saying that being yourself is a lovely thing. Being ashamed of the people you love out of fear is something I never want anyone to go through. Falling in love with yourself and understanding that this ‘stigma’ does not define you is the best thing anyone can do.
Faas’s passion for humanitarian rights drove her to join the Planned Parenthood group here, saying, “My opinions about women’s rights have always been strong and joining a group just solidified that. The ideas that women are less in the eyes of society is continuously changing due to the work so many people are doing.” By joining a group that is committed to women’s rights, she continues to push for equality and helps others form their own opinions for themselves. “I hope to make people see that they can have a voice through the crowds of thousands of people we go to school with; that it is okay to have strong opinions and stand behind them,” says Faas.
Currently writing two different poetry books, Faas writes to speak out for the importance of mental health awareness. After struggling with depression, she found writing to be a powerful outlet that she credits to saving her life. “I never imagined getting into college because I really thought depression was going to end my life … I work every day to keep my mental health well, and even when it’s hard, I remind myself why I do it. I hope I can inspire other people to keep pushing through the hard times,” says Faas.
Through her writing, she wants to ensure that people know that they are not alone in their struggles. Despite her past struggles with depression, bullying and a difficult home life, Faas refuses to let anything stop her and continues to strive to be someone she is happy and proud of.
“I don’t want to be just another student here at Penn State, and I want to leave knowing I fully found myself and who I want to be in my adult life. I hope my writing leaves a mark on all young women and men who have been lost with love and themselves, and I want my words to give them a sense of comfort,” says Faas.
Faas encourages everyone to use their voices as well and do what truly makes them happy. “Pursue what you want, your life is beginning after these four years — do what you want with it, and take any opportunity you can.”