College marks an important period in a student’s life. As students begin to transition into adulthood, college is a playground of sorts, a place where experimentation, deep thought, and pondering on what lies ahead are all on the menu. Some students define their college experience through partying, sexual exploration, intense academic rigor, or a combination of sorts. However, for many students they are not in the least concerned with these activities as their energy is more focused on getting themselves out of bed, dealing with an anxiety attack or flirting with the idea of suicide.
Over the past few years mental health has become a hallmark on college campuses across the world. More attention and resources have now been dedicated in assisting students who struggle with their internal demons, which for many, is a case of life and death. Here at Genesee Community College, there is a noticeable sense of despair which afflicts much of the student body. I myself have seen people in my own social circle openly admit to cutting themselves, failed suicide attempts, amongst many other tragic stories. One student in particular had cut themselves multiple times in their abdomen, an event which required an overnight hospital stay.
Earlier this month at the behest of GCC President James Sunser, me and College Village Resident Assistant Randy Bumbury, visited Monroe Community College and advocated for more resources on campus to deal with this crisis. In a room filled with State legislators across various regions we plead our case as to why this issue requires urgent action. Jeanie Burdick is a fine counselor here at GCC and has performed her job well, but she is only one individual. Given that our estimated student population is well over 1,000 (more if our campus centers and distance learning students are calculated), there is simply not enough resources available to address the needs of students.
To be blunt, we need money. Monetary backing would ensure we could afford more than one full-time, qualified counselor as well as expanding our services at the Counseling Center. Thus, GCC could provide more options for students to better manage their health outside of what currently exists, such as Therapy Assist Online, a useful tool students can use, but doesn’t completely solve the problem. The issue we have is not a lack of motivation or skill. That much among faculty is present. We just don’t have the “cache” if you will, to go beyond our constraints and truly make a difference.
Dennis Austin is a graduating sophomore, majoring in Liberal Arts & Sciences. He is graduating this semester and will be attending the University of Illinois in January.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911. If you need to make an appointment with our Counseling Center, please contact Jeanie Burdick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585)-343-0055 ext. 6219. The Counseling Center is open weekdays, Monday-Friday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
Sleep. Nice healthy sleep. If you’re like me, you could use more of it! According to the CDC – the Centers for Disease Control – 35% of US adults aren’t getting enough! The recommended amount of sleep per night is 7-8 hours. What happens to our bodies when we don’t get that recommended amount? I know with finals coming up, this might be good to know in the event that you find yourself awake at night, stressing over your next exam.
You get sick! Losing sleep can target your body’s ability to fight off illnesses.
Your heart pays. Getting too little sleep (less than 5 hours) and getting too much (more than 9 hours) have been shown to have a negative impact on heart health. Your chances of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke are greatly increased with less sleep.
Risk for cancer increases. Too little sleep is welcoming to different types of cancers such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and also prostate cancer.
You forget stuff and can’t think properly. Even missing just one night of sleep can mess with your cognitive function. Not only can it damage your thinking, it can also make your memory impaired as well. In other words, we need adequate sleep to lock in new information and commit it to memory.
You pack on the pounds! Research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are at a larger risk for obesity.
Your appearance suffers. If all of these effects don’t do it and make you want to change for the better, then perhaps this one will! Having not enough sleep can cause premature wrinkles and dark circles. It can also cause uneven skin tone.
So, with all of this information, you must be ready and willing to make a change. How – do you ask? Here is a list of things you can do to get more sleep, in case you’re having trouble.
Avoid caffeine at night time and also limit yourself during the day. Caffeine is only used to help people stay awake, therefore, if consumed at night, it’ll only worsen your ability to fall asleep at a decent time.
No alcohol before bed! Yes, alcohol is a downer. However, it also keeps your mind going in an opposite direction as opposed to winding down before bed.
Don’t sleep in on the weekends or when you have late class. Wake up close to the same time everyday so that your body and mind get used to the schedule.
Try different decaf coffees or teas to help nurture yourself into sleeping. I know that when I drink something hot or warm at night, it instantly gives me all the warm and fuzzies and makes me feel comforted and ready for bed.
Try working out during the day to wear yourself out! Being tired is half the battle, after all 🙂
Put books and homework away at least 30 minutes before bedtime. When you’re stuck thinking about tomorrow’s exam that’s in store, it’s probably extremely hard to get sleepy!
Listen to a meditation video on Youtube! Just go to Youtube.com and type in “meditation video” in the search bar, press play, close your eyes, and do what they say. You’ll be relaxed in no time!
Now that you have these tools, you should be good to go and able to catch up on your z’s! Good luck!
If you’ve ever felt cramped from being inside too long, I feel your pain. Going outside is so relaxing and it’s a good way to take a break from everyday duties of studying and taking care of our responsibilities. I mean, lets face it! We all need to get out more instead of being under the same old fluorescent lighting we find ourselves in everyday. Although going on walks outside is a good way to stretch our bodies and minds, there are also a ton of other benefits to it!
Just walking for 30 minutes everyday can strengthen the cardiovascular system and prevent diseases. Walking greatly reduces the risk of stroke, as well. This exercise is ideal for lowering blood pressure, it improves blood circulation (so no more pesky cold feet), it reduces bad cholesterol, and helps increase good cholesterol.
Don’t just dismiss this as health mumbo jumbo! There are real benefits to going on walks everyday. Another good benefit is that your mood will improve. Research shows that regular walking modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility.
Anyone worried about losing weight? This may seem obvious, but doing a little cardio (something like WALKING 🙂 or running) can help those jeans to fit a little better!
I know it seems a little redundant, however, it’s time go get some walking shoes and start taking care of the only body you have. Why don’t you go do it in our new gym? That place is AWESOME! They have treadmills that look out over the campus and state of the art equipment ready for you to get some use out of. Best thing is that it’s free!