Initially, I really struggled with figuring out what to write for this week’s paper because this will be my last article for The Quad. As a graduating senior, I wanted to make sure that whatever I wrote was meaningful, impactful and would solidify my space here. After careful consideration and many talks with my mom, I decided that aside from giving you advice on how to master college and life, (see my article in the Features Section), the next best thing that I can leave you with is this: college is expensive, so make sure that you take advantage of everything that it offers.
When I started my undergraduate journey at West Chester University, there was so much to see and do that it all felt a bit overwhelming. I didn’t know where to begin unpacking all that I was feeling. There were mounds of people, buildings everywhere, numerous organizations and clubs, etc. Feeling lost in my new world, 18-year-old me decided to use avoidance as my tactic for dealing with my anxiety. That was a huge mistake. My advice to you is to not be that person.
My mom has always told me that I needed to make my education work for me, but I didn’t entirely understand what that meant until recently. Admittedly, I got a late start, but once I embraced the concept that as an empowered student, my responsibility was to maximize my experience, I looked at the campus offerings with a new lens. I’ve been introduced to so many new things about this campus, and though I’ll be graduating in a few weeks, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. So, if you have some feelings of anxiousness, feel like you aren’t fitting in, need some suggestions on how to get involved, I offer you the following (regardless of classification):
1. The Counseling Center: The counseling center is located in Lawrence Suite 241. I’ve only been to the counseling center once, but I must say that I really enjoyed talking to the therapist. At the time I was dealing with feelings of anxiety and insecurity. The counselor I talked to really helped me. The people there are so friendly and non-judgmental. Even if you’re feeling just a tad bit stressed about anything, I recommend going. Check out the website for more information: https://www.wcupa.edu/_services/stu.cou/
2. Rams After Hours: Rams after hours takes place on Fridays from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. during the semester. The activities vary week to week and it’s completely free! Aside from the food, the gifts and so forth, it’s a great opportunity to make friends or develop a deeper bond with the friends you already have.
3. The Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center: A lot of people either have not heard of the LDMC or think of it as just the place where students of color hang out … neither of these are true. The LDMC offers peer mentors, scholarships and job opportunities. It is open to all races and is a great place to hang out and make new friends!
4: Resource Pantry: This is one of the newest features on West Chester’s campus that a lot of people still don’t know about. The resource pantry is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Not only do they have food for students in need, they also have school supplies, personal care items and business attire for students to wear to job interviews. https://www.wcupa.edu/_services/stu.slv/pantry/
5: The Center for Women and Gender Equity: Contrary to popular belief, the CWGE is open to men as well. There, anyone can anonymously report any sexual misconduct you or someone else may have faced, attend educational programs and have access to free sanitary products and condoms.
6: Twardoski Career Development Center: The Career Center is vastly underused, especially by students of color. The Career Center has so much to offer and I’d encourage everyone to go at least once during their college career. The Career Center offers resumé reviews, conducts mock interviews and has job listings of available positions both on and off campus. They also host several job fairs throughout the year.
7. Clubs/Organizations in general: West Chester University has over 250 very diverse clubs—clubs that can fulfill any need or interest that you may have. Clubs are a great way to make friends, build your resume, stay involved and create lasting memories with students with similar interests.
Though my four years are coming to a close, I have truly experienced most of what this University offers both in and out of the classroom. I have learned a lot and grown immensely. I’ve made lifelong friends, focused on academic excellence and utilized the services that I needed in order to make college a great experience for me. I wouldn’t change this experience for the world and I truly hope that every returning student takes the time to fully immerse themselves in the college experience upon returning next semester. I may be moving on to the next chapter in my life, but know that I’ll be rooting for your success!