“Therapy” is not a Dirty Word
As a college student at an elite university, I often feel myself getting worked up over juggling all my coursework with extracurriculars, work, friends, and relationships. I think it’s safe to say that college students these days have their hands full with a plethora of responsibilities we’re expected to take on and excel at seamlessly. Because of this, the transition to college can be a bumpy one, as students balance these responsibilities with being in a new environment, finding friends, and adjusting to different study needs. College is a time to learn, to adapt, and to mature. This includes learning how to truly take care of yourself, whether that means taking a night off and binging Netflix in bed or seeking professional help.
Going to therapy for the first time can be intimidating, but once you find a therapist you feel comfortable with, they can really be a useful outlet. Talking through your thoughts and emotions with a supportive person can be very healing, in that it can feel like you’re relieving yourself of a burden you’ve had to carry all on your own. I found that talking to someone who wasn’t involved in my life and whose only concern was my well-being made it easier for me to open up about things that I was hesitant to tell my family and friends. Talking to the people closest to us can be helpful, but sometimes we need help that they aren’t able to provide.
Many students seek out therapy to help with feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, problems with relationships, etc. Therapy may be challenging and time-consuming, but it’s an investment in yourself that can ultimately provide long-lasting benefits beyond temporary symptom relief. Therapy can equip you with the tools to transform your life, including introspective skills that everyone, especially college students, can use to build the life they envision for themselves. It’s empowering to take the first steps towards mental health care, and doing so is a huge favor to yourself. You’re prioritizing the most important person in your life, which can be hard to do in college, and you deserve the best you can get.
Therapy has definitely been given an unfair stigma; it’s basically like venting to a friend (which everyone does), except your friend is a professional and will definitely show up when you make plans. So many people can benefit from going to therapy but many aren’t open to it or don’t have access to the necessary resources. At Barnard, there are several on campus resources for students. Furman Counseling provides individual counseling, consultations, and medication evaluations. Students can schedule an appointment with the counseling center for an initial phone screening followed by a first consultation and possible subsequent appointments. Well Woman is also available to help students take care of themselves, arranging peer workshops on self care, healthy relationships, sleep, and more. Going to therapy doesn’t have to be shameful, or scary, or unpleasant. Therapy can be a hugely important step towards improving your own mental health and in turn, life in general.