By Alyssa Gautieri
Since my freshman year at the College, I’ve consistently heard from family, friends and acquaintances that “college is the time of your life — enjoy it.” Yet first semester freshman year simply did not feel like the time of my life. I know I was not alone.
For many students, it takes a few months to adjust to college classes, create real friendships and stop the urge of wanting to call home every day, and that’s OK. The College has so many campus resources for students who need help with the adjustment and, in my opinion, these resources are not used as often as they should.
As a student, if you feel you do not have a friend that you can talk to intimately, then you should not feel embarrassed to use the College’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). I know from experience that it is fine to attend just one appointment to remind yourself there is always someone who can listen.
CAPS is not only for students with diagnosable mental health issues, but it is for any student who is struggling with any personal challenge, no matter how small it might seem to you. Licensed mental health professionals aid students who struggle with issues from academic, relationship or family problems to anxiety, depression, self-injury, grief or abuse. Still, if a student feels embarrassed to seek help, rest assured that all counseling services are completely confidential.
In addition to CAPS, the College also provides students with discounted health care at Student Health Services. Here, they want to help students thrive by providing care for injuries, illnesses, vaccinations and sexual health.
Health Services also includes its own Planned Parenthood, where students can talk about sexually transmitted diseases, birth control or unplanned pregnancies. In addition, if you chose not to use health insurance, Planned Parenthood visits can remain completely confidential and affordable. As a sick freshman, I would drive an hour and a half to go home to visit my doctor. Looking back, I wish I had visited the College’s unbelievably kind and supportive health care staff.
In addition to CAPS and Health Services, I was also confused about the Tutoring Center as a freshman. I was hesitant because I was not sure how tutoring worked, as I wasn’t aware that it is free, easy to sign up for and available for every course. Later on, I learned how helpful tutoring can truly be and now that I am a tutor, I know how eager tutors are to help their peers. I’ve learned that tutors don’t judge what happens in sessions, and that students who come into tutoring are just as smart as other students.
During my first semester at the College, I felt too proud to need a tutor, but even Diane Gruenberg, the Tutoring Services’s director of humanities and social science tutoring, told me that even the smartest students should take advantage of the College’s tutoring services.
“Everyone — even very strong learners — can benefit from some extra time working on learning challenges with a peer,” Gruenberg said.
Students often hesitate to ask for help when they need it. While it may seem embarrassing to use campus resources for the first time, I encourage every student to take full advantage of all the College has to offer. If you want to tell people with confidence that college is the time of your life, then don’t be afraid to take action in order to improve your own college experience.