College is hard. It is an unpleasant truth, and one that we often have trouble admitting. Between keeping up with classwork, joining extracurricular clubs, trying to find friends, and being apart from family for extended periods of time, living at college can take its toll. This rings true especially for people who arrive on campus already struggling with personal issues.
I discovered this my freshman year. I have dealt with depressive episodes since my junior year of high school and have had anxiety since my senior year. Because of my unawareness about mental health, I had not sought out any resources. By the end of my first month at college, I felt overwhelmed by everything I had on my plate. I struggled to adjust to the stress of classes, clubs, and looking for a solid group of friends. Being away from family and not having someone to be vulnerable with added to my stress and anxiety levels. My anxiety got to the point where it distracted me during class and isolated me from my friends.
I talked to a few friends about mental health since that seems to be a huge struggle for college students recently. One or two of them mentioned that they had visited the Counseling Center. This was the first time I had ever heard of a conservative college offering mental health resources to their students. I hesitated to schedule an appointment, mostly out of fear that the counselors would tell me that I had imagined my symptoms and that if I prayed more, none of my attacks would be happening.
After some serious consideration, I did eventually start seeing a counselor regularly. Contrary to what I expected, the counselor showed me love – God’s love – instead of giving me criticism. My counselor gave me both spiritual advice and practical tips to manage my issues. I would love to say that my mental struggles disappeared after my first appointment. Unfortunately, progress takes more than that. It involves falling and getting back up only to fall again. But each time I fell I had an older mentor to help me to my feet. She gave me guidance on how to handle the next fall. The counselors at Grove City care deeply for each individual that they see. It shows in the time they take getting to know students so they can best meet the students’ needs, whether those needs relate to mental health or simple stress management.
I think many people overlook the Counseling Center at Grove City while touring campus, but as the semesters have continued, Grove City has brought more attention to the mental health and stress management resources that they offer. This really sets them apart from any other college I toured in high school.
We all have our personal battles, which makes people like Grove City’s counselors all the more important in our moments of need.