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McKennaWhipple

December12,2016
CMJ31001

McKennaWhipple

GrandValleyPuttingTooMuchCounselingFocusonNew
Students?

ALLENDALE,Mich.

Its1amandtheMaryIdemaPewLibraryonthecampusof

GrandValleyStateUniversityisstilllitinfullasfinalsapproach.Stressedoutcollege
studentsthrowtheirpencilsdowninfrustrationandthesoundofexhaustedsighs

representsthetenseatmosphere.Whataretheiroptionsonhowtohandlethestressand
whathelptheycangettocopewiththeanxietytheyarefeeling?
GrandValleyStatehasbeguntryingtoenhancetheavailableresourcesforstudents
seekinghelpbecausementalhealthisatopictheytakeveryseriously.Associalmedia
andtechnologyusecontinuestoincrease,especiallybycollegeagestudents,the
pressurestosucceedaremoredrainingthanever.Studentsnowhavemoreaccessto
reasonstopromptunfavorablecomparisonsbetweenpeers.Theissue,however,is
outreacheffortsarebeingdirectedtowardunderclassmen,ratherthanallclassstandings
collectively.
Freshmanandfirstyearstudentsarebeingexposedtomoreprogramsorassociationsto
gotoforhelpsuchasthesocialjusticecenter,womenscenter,and/orthecenterfor
LGBTQ.Itallowsthemtohaveaplacewheretheirspecificissuescanbemore
centralized.Freshman,SarahPittman,gaveasarcasticexpressionwhenIaskedherifshe
knewaboutthecounselingcenter.Shetooksometimeawayfromstudyingandexplained
tomehowshelearnedaboutthecenter,Duringorientationwewatchedalotof
presentationstellingusaboutallthedifferentresourcesoncampustogethelpforstress
andotherpersonalissues.Concerningthelackofawarenessolderstudentsexperience
abouttheprogramsthecentercreatedLatreaceMcDaniel,counselorandcoordinatorof
multiculturaldiversityandtrainingattheGrandValleyStateUniversityCounseling
Centerexplained,Wedonthavespecificoutreachesforgroupsofpeoplethatdidnt
accesstheresources.

Theyoungerstudentsarelearningabouttheincreasedoptionsavailabletothemthrough
presentationsattheirorientations,buttheupperclassmenarenotgettinginformedas
directly.Thisgapincommunicationishinderingtheamountoftrafficthecounseling
centerisreceivingandshowingadecreaseinvisitsfromlowerclassmen.Withjuniors
andseniorshavingknowledgeofonlythecenterastheirresourceforhelpwith
depression,stress,oranxietythesuddenabsenceoffreshmanandsophomoreshas
allowedtheupperclassmentogetmoreaccesstothe,usuallybusy,counselors.

Theaugmentedaccesstocounselorsexemplifiesthereasoningfortheincreasein
upperclassmencounselingcentervisitsoverthelast4years.Iheardaboutthe
counselingcenterduringmyfreshmanorientation,butneverfoundaneedtogountilI

startedapplyingforjobsandinternshipsthispastyear,saidSenior,Communications
StudiesmajorMeaganNeff.Ialsodidnotthinkmyproblemsweresevereenoughto
scheduleasession.Theuncertaintyofwhatwillhappenwithcertaindegreesbeingin
demandbythetimegraduationrollsaroundcancausesubstantialamountsofmental
wareonstudents.

MelanieHeath,SeniorExerciseSciencemajor,expressedtomeherconcernsaboutbeing
behindotherstudentsinhermajor,Ihearalotofkidsinmyclassessayingtheyhavea
joblineduportalkingabouttheirinternshipsanditreallyfreaksmeoutthatIamnot
gettingsimilaropportunities.Theattentionandacceptancestudentsseekforcesthemto
putseverepressureonthemselvestosucceed,causinganxietytoreappearorbecome
apparentinstudents.Asstressbuildsforstudentsitsimportantforuniversitiestotakethe
necessarystepstoinformtheirincomingstudentsofcampusresourcestoassistwith
stress.

McDanielspokewithmeaboutthemostcommonreasonsshewitnessesstudents
comingintothecenterfor.Speakingfromadiagnosticperspective,depressionand
anxietyarethemostcommonreasonswesee.Studentsseekmaintenancefortheir
mentalhealthduringcrucial,stressfultimesintheschoolyear,saidMcDaniel.Grand
ValleysCounselingCenterrequiresthatstudentsgothroughapersonalscreening
processbeforeschedulinganappointmentinordertogetthestudenttorecognizewhat
maybegoingonwiththemsotheyhaveabetterideaofwhatissuetheyareseekinghelp
with.

Factorslikesocialmediaplayabigroleintheincreasedanxietystudentsarefeelingand
thehelptheirseeking.BasedontheeMarketerchartbelow,thereisanoticeablerisein
Internetusers,whichcanbedirectlyrelatedtomentalissuesincollegeageadults.
Recognizingtheissuesthatstudentsareexperiencing,GrandValleywantedtoexpand
studentsaccessestoreceivingassistancewiththeirpersonalstruggles.Oneofthethings
wedidwascollaboratewithdifferentinstitutionstocreatevariousoutreachprograms,
saidMcDanielwhenaskedaboutwhatthecenterisdoingtolowerstudentsanxietyrates.

Thenewresources,however,arestrugglingtoreachupperclassmenandinsteadare
focusedonfreshmenandfirstyearstudents.Withtheincreasedstressthatisapparentand
leadingtomoreanxietyanddepressionissues,allstudentshavingaccesstoavarietyof
resourcesisimportanttomentalhealththroughoutcollege.

AccordingtoeMarketer,theamountofstressvariouscollegestudentsarefeelingis
alarmingandcanbedirectlyrelatedtothecommonsocialmediaandtechnologyuseby
millennials.Thetechnologyoverusecanexacerbatesomestudentswhoalreadydisplayed
signsofanxietyordepression.Manystudentsensuementalstrainsonthemselveswhen
feelingpressuretosucceed.HealthLinereportsfromasurveythat87%ofcollege
studentsareoverwhelmedbecauseoftheirresponsibilities.

Thereisanegativestigmasurroundingyoungmiddleagedadultsfornotreceivingthe
propereducation,gettingagoodjob,orwastingmoney.WheneverIamstrugglingIget
evenmoreoverwhelmedbecauseImakemyselffeelbadaboutlettingdownmyparents,
whoarepayingformycollege,Neffsaid.Concernslikethisarecommonamongall
classstandings,lowerclassmenfeelthesamepressures,especiallywhentheyhave
siblingsattendingcollegewiththem.MichaelNeff,youngerbrotherofMeaganNeff,
whoalsoattendsGrandValleysaid,Itishardcominginknowingmyparentsare
alreadyhelpingmysister,IfeellikeIhavetoperformjustaswell,ifnotbetter,because
theyarehelpingbothofusoutsomuch.

Withlimitedaccesstomoreresources,olderstudentsareunabletojoingroupsor
organizationswithstudentsthataresharingthesamestrugglesasthembecausetheyare
unawareoftheiroptions.Thereisasignificantneedforstudentstohavemoreaccessto
assistanceforstressrelatedproblemsincollege.AccordingtoHealthLine,morehealth
educationisneededandnotjustfromcounselingcenters.

Noticeably,onanationalscalethemostcommonnegativefactorcontributingtopoor
academicperformanceisstress.Thatmakesitcomesaslittlesurprisewhyprofessors
oftenmakenophonepoliciesintheirclassroomsinordertopreventthedistractionsof
technology.Theacademicperformanceoftheirstudentsisthepriorityandtechnology
hasmadeitdifficultforstudentstomakeittheirpriority.Theinstructorswanttoallow
theirstudentslearningtobeofhigherquality,ultimatelyhelpingthemfeelmoreatease
abouttheirassignmentsandlimitingstress.

Asthecenterimprovestheiroutreachprogramstoinfluencemorestudentsandtheyoung
studentsbeingreachedmoveupinacademicstatus,theprogramswillprovetobemore
successful.However,rightnowthefocusneedstobeonhelpingupperlevelclassmen
whoareexperiencingpanicabouttheirfutureandthepressuretosucceedthatis
undeniableasgraduationapproachesformanyofthem.

WorksCited

Brown,Joel.(2016).AGrowingChallenge:MoreStudentsSeekingHelpALook
BehindtheNumbers.BostonUniversity.Retrievedfrom:
http://www.bu.edu/today/2016/mentalhealthcollegestudents/

Bland,HelenW.,Melton,BridgetF.,Welle,PaulS.,Bigham,L.(2012).Stress
Tolerance:NewChallengesForMillennialCollegeStudents.CollegeStudent
Journal.Retrievedfrom:
http://search.proquest.com/openview/63c5fbc58ab8afe6419713af189ba285/1?pq
origsite=gscholar

Goodman,McGrathLeah.(2015).MillennialCollegeGraduates:Young,Educated,and
Jobless.NewsWeek.Retrievedfrom:
http://www.newsweek.com/2015/06/05/millennialcollegegraduatesyoung
educatedjobless335821.html

GVSUUniversityCounselingCenter.(2016).UniversityCounselingCenterPolicy
Statements.GVSUCounselingCenter.

N.A.(2015).CollegeStudentsStillSpendMostSocialTimewithFacebook.eMarketer.
Retrievedfrom:https://www.emarketer.com/Article/CollegeStudentsStill
SpendMostSocialTimewithFacebook/1012955

N.A.(2012).UnemploymentRateofBAHoldersAges20to24.NCESDigestof
EducationStatistics.