Some of the Best Years of Your Life

Have you heard the statement, “College…the best years of your life?” I agree. College can be fun and exciting. It is a time for learning, meeting new people, being introduced to new ideas and philosophies, participating in clubs and organizations, and pursuing your personal dreams or goals. Clearly, a lot more than academic learning takes place at college. It’s also a time of social and personal growth. So, you may be wondering, “How do I access all these things?” Since academic learning is the primary focus of colleges, it will not be hard to access mental stimulation. However, the pursuit of social time and personal growth may require you to be more proactive. Social time may take several forms. It could be hanging out with friends or joining a club or organization.

It affords an opportunity to exchange new ideas, different philosophies, or just relaxing with others just like you. Personal growth means an individual’s emotional well-being and current functioning. A person’s emotional well-being can influence their experience, attitudes and opinions.It involves being willing to integrate your new experiences and perspectives into a healthier self-concept. In addition to focusing on academics, social time and personal growth, you may be juggling family/relationship responsibilities, work and a commute. The stress associated with these demands can sometimes seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there is a place on campus where one can talk with someone about these things. The Counseling Center staff consists of professionals trained to assist students with a variety of issues. These include depression, anxiety/stress, relationship concerns, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, or other of the many personal issues which are listed on the Counseling Center’s web page. The Center provides both individual and group counseling. This fall, for instance, we will offer two groups, one on parenting and one on relationships.

Some commonly asked questions about the Counseling Center include, “Who can access these services?” Currently enrolled UIS students and UIS staff and faculty can obtain counseling services at no charge.

“Who knows that I am receiving counseling services?” These services are confidential and your professors, family, friends, or others cannot receive information about you without your written consent.

Exceptions to confidentiality may be necessary if you have serious intentions of harming yourself or someone else, or in cases of child or elder abuse. In these instances, the Counseling Center staff would have an obligation to protect you or others from harm.

If you have any questions about our services or need our help, you can call the Counseling Center at (217) 206-7122. The Counseling Center is located in the Building HRB, Room 64.

Enjoy your college years. Remember, they are some of the best years of your life! It has been my experience that there are plenty more great years to follow.

Written by W. Cameron Dean, PsyD.