Additional blog Post #5
As the topic for my final paper, I wanted to use the conversation around campus resources as my final additional blog post prompt. Virginia Tech is the second university I have attended, and I noticed that the campus resources available to students varies from school to school. Within the context of higher education, I feel like campuses exist as their own small communities, and in a way are almost self-sufficient by providing resources to the members of the area. I will cover these in more detail in my final paper, but I wanted to give a quick overview of the three I have heard mentioned by my students the most often. The deep need for comprehensive physical and mental health resources on campus led me to a search of what Virginia Tech had to offer, so I wanted to discuss a few found on campus here in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech’s counseling center, Cook Counseling, provides both individual and group counseling to students on site. From groups focusing on eating disorders, depression, and anxiety to individual sessions addressing home life and academic performance, there is a little bit of everything at Cook. One thing that I always remind my students is that mental health is just as important as physical health, and therefore if they need to take a day for their mental health, Cook Counseling can provide a note to excuse them from class. I would always want my students to be proactive about their health rather than let their struggles spiral into a more serious issue, so I often refer students in distress to Cook for help.
Schiffert Health Center
Something new to me was the concept of a health center that could provide actual medical help! It sounds strange now, but my undergraduate experience was that if I felt sick, going to the on-campus center wouldn’t help much at all. However at Virginia Tech, Schiffert serves students with services from allergies and immunizations to a women’s clinic, and even nutrition guidance! I didn’t realize how many services they offered, and in my research I was reassured that a campus of VT’s size was providing adequate resources to their students. While a few of my own students have mentioned it can get pretty crowded around flu season, I think a well-run health center is vital to any higher education institution of this size.
As a public speaking GTA, I spend at least one hour every week in the library working in CommLab. This is a resource that helps students with any and all public speaking assignments or personal projects. From listening to practice speeches to helping construct speech outlines, CommLab is a wonderful resource for Virginia Tech, especially considering how many majors have a public speaking requirement. I am well aware of how many students with speaking anxiety or a general distaste for standing in front of a group of people for a presentation, so CommLab can help every step of the way, giving students the skills and ability to craft a well-researched speech and practice it until they are fully confident.
With these (and many, many more!) resources available on campus, I am proud to be a GTA for Virginia Tech. When a student comes to me with a problem, I feel more confident in my abilities to refer them to the proper organization, and I feel like access to a variety of campus and community resources can help a university become a stronger institution of higher education.