Less sunshine, cold weather, and the holiday season affect each person differently.
The Shield created a survey to see how this time of year affects students at the university.
The survey was posted to the Facebook class groups. Students sitting in the Loft were asked at random to fill out the survey. 96 students participated.
46.9% felt they were struggling around the holidays. 55.2% reported that they felt their financial situation was worse during the holiday winter months.
46.9% reported that their mental health is worse during the holiday months. Yet, only 16.7% of students reported that they had reached out to the counseling survey and only 3.1% reported that they had visited Archie’s Closet.
“Staff members in the counseling center are amazing individuals that have strived to help me mentally throughout this semester,” sophomore nursing major Krislynn Waters, wrote in her survey.
“I’ve had an amazing experience with my counselor, and I feel like it’s a great resource for me to use when I need to decompress and vent without judgement,” freshman pre-nursing major, Madison Martin, wrote in her survey.
The Counseling Center and Archie’s Closet are both free resources to students. The Counseling Center provides free counseling and Archie’s Closet provides free food to students.
Dajah Warfield, senior criminal justice major, has visited both Archie’s Closet and the Counseling Center.
“When I was a freshman and sophomore, Archie’s Closet helped me a lot because I couldn’t really afford to go off campus a lot and go to Walmart and get groceries,” Warfield said. “So, I would go there and get cans of soup, snacks, stuff like that.”
“I think mental health gets worse during winter because you are in the house all the time. You don’t really get to do as much as you would during the warmer months,” Warfield said.
Warfield said the process for making and going in for an appointment at the Counseling Center is quick. Warfield has done both group counseling in-person and one-on-one counseling via zoom.
“The counselors are pretty nice, everything was pretty easy going, and everybody was flexible,” Warfield said. “It’s not as scary as people may think it is. They are very inviting and they make the process easy.”
“I am in the TRIO program, which is a program where you can get help with financial aid, academics or anything you want to talk about like where you want to go in life,” Warfield said. “Being in TRIO helped me get a scholarship and a grant, which is pretty nice. They helped me decide what career path I wanted to take.”
Warfield also likes to use the Writing Center and the Financial Student Aid center.
“I think money gets kind of tight around Christmas time, fall months and early winter,” said freshman biology major, Preston Shake. “Buying presents for everyone, and people who had summer jobs have less money now and are still having to spend gas money and pay for food off campus.”
Shake said that the stereotype that winter is harder on people because they have to stay indoors and there is less sunshine is probably true. He also said the end of the semester is always more stressful due to finals.
“There is harder material. Teachers expect more from you. All the extra work at the beginning of the semester that you didn’t really have, now you have,” Shake said.
Shake said that in addition to Archie’s Closet and the Counseling Center, students could get help from student organizations as well. He listed Students for Life, student religious organizations, and Newman Catholics as examples of organizations that might have resources available for students.
“I would say go to the counseling office, talk to friends, and try to do things that relax you,” Shake said, “Visit family, get coffee and just do stuff that de-stresses you.”
Due to COVID-19, the Counseling Center is providing counseling services through Zoom, and rarely offers in-person sessions.
The Counseling Center also started TalkCampus, an app where students can talk to fellow students who have been through similar situations as them. For more information on the Counseling Center and TalkCampus, see the university’s website.
Archie’s Food Closet is located inside the Recreation, Fitness, & Wellness Center. Archie’s Food Closet is confidential, free and open everyday except Saturday. More information is available on the university’s website.
Other resources that can help students at the end of the semester are Academic Skills and the Student Financial Aid Office.