The Importance of Being Counseled

Let’s face it, college can be an emotional rollercoaster. While you’re studying for tests and working on papers, you also have to deal with issues like friends, family, and your own happiness. I think people forget that college students are more likely to feel depressed than any other age group and that college is, for many, the first time of so many things. Some experience new academic pressures, and some feel the anxiety of paying for school. Some must finally confront the concept of “independence,” and some first begin the journey of who they are. During my first few months in college I got really down and spoke to my parents a lot. They would come visit me often since I went to school about thirty minutes away and they were sad that I wasn’t feeling my best. I got through that time by myself, but I started feeling down again during my sophomore year. I ended up going to the counseling center at my school just to check it out and see what my options were. I walked into that building feeling like every eye was looking, studying, and judging me and that I had some major problem that I needed to seek help for. After speaking with a intake counselor so they could get a sense of who I was (which, by the way, felt extremely impersonal and uncomfortable), I discovered that every student at my school was entitled to twelve free sessions a year with a graduate student studying in the masters of psychology program and I set up my first session. I began these sessions with hesitation, as I wasn’t sure how therapy was supposed to go. Was I supposed to just start speaking about my life with a total stranger? What if someone found out that I was in therapy? What if I hated the session and realized I just wasted an hour of my life? The truth was that these were and are valid concerns before starting therapy, but since this experience I have become an ardent supporter of therapy, if just for the sake of talking to someone else about what’s going on in your life. You don’t need to have something “wrong” to go to therapy. Therapy is a fantastic way to flesh out ideas, feelings, and opinions with an objective listener and if you also happen to have some issues that you’re dealing with what better setting is there than with a person whose job it is to listen and try to help? In an ideal world everyone would be in therapy and the stigma of being in therapy would disappear. We go to the gym to take care of our physical health, so shouldn’t taking care of our mental health be equally as important? Most schools have counseling centers and it doesn’t hurt to see what kind of options your school has to help with mental health. You have enough exams and research papers to deal with so check out some ways to make sure you’re feeling at your best.
Counseling is a different experience for everyone and it may take time to find a good person that you feel is actively listening to you. Let me know if you’ve ever seen a counselor and how the experience was.

-Roni Tessler

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