Not a qualm about staying calm


Julie Spierer, Special Features Editor

Defining the matter

College can be a rewarding time, where students are immersed in a culture surrounded by individuals their own age, all seeking to accomplish similar academic achievement. For many, college is comprised of more decision-making than ever before. Overwhelmed, some students neglect to seek the appropriate support.

Mental health complications are not uncommon on university campuses. The pressures of living amidst a highly academic and social environment are difficult to minimize. Many ignore seeking proper treatment and as a result, suffer from debilitating consequences — some even life-threatening.

“[Students] are learning and implementing what they are learning about themselves and about their environment at the same time and sometimes things don’t turn out how they hoped, resulting in distress. For example, managing academic, extracurricular, and social demands can leave students with little time for self-care,” assistant professor of psychology and clinical psychologist Jasmine Mena said.

Surrounded by many demands, students may feel as though they are always one step behind where they should be, limiting the time required to receive sufficient sleep, maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and simply relax.

“When many demands are combined with the idea that they have to succeed in everything, students can feel defeated when they are less than perfect.” Mena said.

“College can be stressful because it’s a lot different than living at home. The classes are pretty demanding and you have to manage that all on your own as well as the other aspects of your life. It’s important to make friends and find people that you can unwind with and keep you sane and having fun. Music is something that I do to unwind and let go. I make music with my friends which is always fun and relaxing. I think that there are a lot of stressful times in college but if you can balance those times with the things that make you happy then it’s going to be enjoyable,” Miles LeAndre ’21 said.

Director of the Counseling and Student Development Center, Kelly D. Kettlewell, Ph.D. admits that one of the most stressful parts of the college years is the intensity and amount of change that takes place in such a relatively short period of time.

“I would want students to know that they are not alone and that asking for help can make a huge difference in their lives. I also want students to know that asking for help demonstrates courage and strength, not weakness,” Kettlewell said.

Stress less

There are many easily-accessible tools to help students fight stress and achieve a sense of serenity.

Depending upon where a person channels their energy, different environments may provide a better release than others. Some recharge with alone time, whether this time is spent watching television, reading a book, or collecting thoughts in a journal. On the other hand, some prefer the company of others, such as friends or family, in order to unwind.

“I find that with so much going on academically and at a school where there is always a social opportunity to be had, it’s really important to schedule yourself some days to just relax with a movie in bed without any external distractions,” Samantha Blount ’20 said.

It is of great importance that students determine their own methods of coping with psychological distress, and implement those techniques into their daily lives.

The Counseling & Student Development Center

The Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC) aspires to create a safety net for all students, regardless of the situation.

“Working at the CSDC at Bucknell University is incredibly rewarding. One of the best parts of my work is watching students grow as they overcome challenges. I really see it as an honor to be a part of students’ lives during such a transformative time,” Kettlewell said.

All services that the center provides are free and strictly confidential. The counselors and psychologists are trained mental health professionals who have concentrated their research and careers on the counseling of college students.

College years can be full of self-doubt, during which you wonder, “What’s most important to me?”

“Sorting through these questions can be very stressful when the answers are uncertain. Many students are left feeling alone, and as if they’re the only ones not having the best four years of their lives,” Kettlewell said.

Remarkably, all students feel this same ubiquitous pressure to succeed.

“Students should also remind themselves, and their friends, that focusing on the process of growing and learning is a healthier option than focusing on perfection,” Mena said. Essentially, students must attempt to learn from experiences; both the good ones and the bad ones.

The CSDC can provide the services that can make college years more rewarding, through enabling students’ growth in self-understanding.

If you or someone you know may benefit from the support of the CSDC, call (570)-577-1604 to set up an appointment, or visit the center’s walk-in consultation hours, Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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