Seeking Counseling and Avoiding the Stigma

I recently read that 42% of Harvard’s senior class sought out counseling services during their time as students. I am interested to see how many Kalamazoo College students do the same, but I am more interested in why people do not utilize these services on campus.

Kalamazoo College offers its students the opportunity to seek professional psychological help at any point during their time at K. These services are generally free and extremely comprehensive. The Counseling Center also offers a variety of diagnostic testing for a fee and can refer students to other health services in the Kalamazoo area, but in my experience, the Counseling Center is an invaluable resource for our students.

I sought counseling at the beginning of my sophomore year as a preemptive measure for the amount of stress that I was anticipating being a new student leader and making other transitions in my life. What began as just a way of talking out the goings-on of my life quickly became increasingly contemplative and made me more self-aware of my actions, words, inactions, and background and how they influenced my interactions with others and how I present myself to the world.

I sought counseling not because I have a mental issue, but because I knew that if I did not have a safe, confidential, and productive outlet for my many emotions, they would manifest into unproductive, destructive, and stressful behaviors and tendencies. Little did I know that I would be encountering a very jarring year in my life and quickly relied on the service as a weekly debriefing and way to put things in perspective and keep myself on track.

It makes me sad to know that so many people think going to the counseling center means that they have something wrong with them. Everyone has unique issues and trials that they deal with every day, and that’s normal. What’s not normal is if someone claims that they don’t – especially in college. It also saddens me to know that many of the people that are referred to the Counseling Center never go or only go once or twice, instead of developing a habit of healthy self-reflection and emotional release.  

Never again are you ever going to have counseling services at your fingertips for virtually no cost. Take advantage of them and use them not only to cope but to learn more about yourself. I couldn’t have written half of my Senior Individualized Project if not for all the demons that were drudged up in counseling, but I also could not have written it without a clinical perspective on the reasons for the things I do or why certain things affect me the way that they do.

We work hard to keep our bodies healthy, but we often neglect our minds and our souls. I’d like to thank the Counseling Center at Kalamazoo College for helping me through my time here and would encourage anyone to consider making an appointment with any of the extremely qualified and caring staff.