By Cynthia Alexis Martinez
Being a college student is not easy.
The workload, high standards and daily life can take a toll on a student both physically and mentally.
Grades plummet, absences rise, and students are left to find their own way.
This is life.
But it does not have to be, and there are people who are more than willing to help.
Counselors like Dr. David Rodriguez and his staff are ready to help any student in need.
Counseling hours start 8 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Hours on Friday are 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. every first Saturday of the month.
Just head to the student advocacy center north of Nail Technical Center to set up an appointment.
Personal counseling is “more than quadratic equations,” Dr. Rodriguez said, stressing that counseling and mental health are beyond academics.
“Stress is your response to a perceived threat. It is so primitive,” he said. “Your thoughts trigger your emotions, and the cycle begins again.”
Stress is something that can be managed to a certain extent by using techniques such as breathing exercises, identifying the stressors, practicing gratitude and staying active.
But stress is often more than that.
Even if it is just stress-induced anxiety or just wanting to sit and talk to somebody, that somebody will be there.
Rodriguez and his small team that consists of mostly interns with a master’s in counseling are ready to provide a safe space for students that is completely confidential and free.
“We are our own worst enemy,” he said. “It is an ongoing process.”
The advocacy center has many services to offer besides counseling and have the connections to help in more ways than one.
For instance, social work services and connections to see a local psychiatrist for $55 dollars a session.
They have a food pantry open to students, faculty and staff for twice-a-month visits.
The pantry is open 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
On Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and closed on Wednesdays for restocking.
Also available are a book voucher program, a magic closet and a grab-and-go program to provide snacks and drinks to students daily.
For more information, call the advocacy center at 210-486-1111.