Graduate Assistant Danielle Reagan working. Photo/Zachary C. Young

By: Amanda Auderer, Reporter

Being away from home, family and friends can be difficult, and adding the pressure of school can intensify the feelings of distress.

First-time living on a college campus can be a big adjustment for some and with the rise of COVID-19, adapting to college has taken a toll on many students as they are away from their loved ones for longer periods of time.

As students come back to campus, going into an unfamiliar routine can be stressful, nerve racking and uncomfortable.

“During my first semester I got super homesick and had to return home to see my therapist, luckily my roommate is my best friend from back home so she helped me through it,” first year transfer student Cynthia Popular said.

“When I was starting out my first semester one of the challenges I faced was learning to be away from home and getting used to managing my money and time wisely,” junior Ailee Trombley said.

Learning how to get around and readapt to new situations can take a lot of energy causing emotions such as stress, depression and anxiety to arise especially when being away from family and friends.

Trombley has faced some mental health challenges, which was a lot of anxiety and sometimes depression. This was from not feeling a connection with their support system.

“Another thing is that when you don’t have the support system there’s a lot of self-doubt issues that arise,” Trembly said.

With students being unable to be with their support systems, universities provide programs and resources to give students a shoulder to lean on. UNCP offers psychological service programs.

The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers virtual and in-person counseling
with group and individual sessions. CAPS Graduate Assistant Danielle Reagan said that enrolling for counseling is as easy as filling out the paperwork then showing up for counseling.

Other services they offer through CAPS include triage, advocacy, crisis services, psychological assessments and prevention education programs.

CAPS also has a few resources to help provide students with support. Well-Track is a self-help therapy service that students have acess to some of the free features through the app store for both androids and iPhones.

Students can access the Well-Track app by using their student email to log on. Along with self-help, CAPS provides interactive mindfulness videos and virtual
meditation rooms.

Their services provide several programs throughout the year to help advocate mental health awareness, substance abuse and more.

Transitioning isn’t always easy, but there are some resources that can and clubs to help develop a sense of community.

Some of UNCP’s clubs include Honor Societies, Greek Life, Agriculture, Art, Brave Company and Yearbook. Campus clubs are a great way for students to find those who share similar interests and passions.

“I joined a sorority so I have my own little support system on campus as well. If I am ever struggling I can just text one of my sorority sisters or call my mom if she’s not at work and that helps,” Popular said.

Change isn’t always the easiest thing to go through and can take a massive toll on our minds and emotions which can cause a spiral, but it is important to remember you are not alone.

Being away from normalcy and home can be stressful and unsettling. Using the available resources provided by the campus will be beneficial and it will help many students on and off campus.

“I think my advice for anybody that is going into college is to know that talking to someone or having someone just to listen to you is a good way to help get some burden off your chest,” Trombley said.

She said that being able to take a step back and relax is also important too.