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To the Counseling Center, I appreciate you

November 6, 2020

Lily Dinsmoor

For this piece, I’m writing solo and without my dearest writer-in-crime. And unfortunately, because of that, this piece will be undoubtedly less funny. Feel free to stop reading now.

Our articles in the past have discussed student life on campus and things we yearn to see change in our interactions with students and professors regarding race. However, I have been reflecting in the past few weeks on things I have really enjoyed and utilized during my time at the College. Without a doubt, there is one resource at Bowdoin that has been incredibly supportive for students: Counseling and Wellness Services.

I remember clearly, as though it were yesterday, my tour at Bowdoin, with the bare tall trees and temperature so cold my nose wouldn’t stop running. My tour guide had a warm smile, and my mom eagerly followed along, asking questions as one’s parents do. But soon, we made a halt at a small white house on the corner of College Street. The tour guide gave a small spiel regarding the easy, simple way in which students are able to access Bowdoin counseling services for free. At the time, I thought nothing much of it. But as I began my first year, it was quickly a resource that I was glad to begin using.

I grew up in a household that encouraged seeking resources in all capacities, and taking initiative in that way is something that I’ve always been proud of. However, in a new, elite environment like Bowdoin, it was hard to navigate student life in general, and the idea of being proud to go to counseling seemed foreign. I believed few students actually used the services, and the students that did were probably struggling with issues greater than my first-year imposter syndrome or trying to find a friend group. But one night while talking with other friends, many of them people of color, we opened up about how we all, in fact, have gone to one or more sessions at Counseling Services. I mean … when else are we guaranteed good, free counseling in America? Literally never.

With the way the year has been, having access to my counselor and casual weekly conversations with someone who has known me for a relatively long time is something that has been steady during chaotic months. Further, virtual learning and meetings … is so incredibly hard. But I’ve been able to enjoy group programming such as Meditation for Students of Color, where we meditate and then chat. More programs and just normalization of discussing mental health in casual ways is something that I enjoy and hope to be more involved in at Bowdoin.

You know the drill: when we say slavery, you say sorry.

J

P.S. Check out The Daily episode called, “What Happened to Daniel Prude?” to learn more about how police officers have abused Black men with mental health issues.

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