Assistance for success

Students studying at Maag Library. Photo by John Cox / Jambar Contributor

By John Cox

Youngstown State University students struggling with academic and mental-health difficulties have resources on campus to utilize for relief. 

Student Counseling Services and the Resch Center for Student Success lend assistance to those struggling with these issues, with a variety of methods suited for the student as an individual. 

The Resch Center for Student Success offers many avenues for support, including one-on-one academic coaching, tutoring in over 200 courses, organized study sessions with other peers and accessibility services for those with disabilities. 

Becky Varian, director of the Academic Success Center, said the number of students utilizing the services has increased. ASC contacts were lower than usual because of the pandemic and while online tutoring is offered, she said students prefer face-to-face tutoring.

“We’re at an increase in every category at this point just because we’re more back to normal,” Varian said.

Even with this support offered, some students may refuse to take advantage of the services available.

“Some of it is pride, it’s like ‘I don’t need this.’ They don’t really understand what a coach can do,” Varian said.

The ASC works with many departments across campus, such as Student Counseling Services, to which it refers if necessary. 

Ann Jaronski, director of Student Counseling Services, said the four biggest issues YSU students battle are different types of anxiety, depression, relationship concerns and managing stress. She said there are approaches to face these difficulties. 

“If we’re talking about dealing with external stresses: work, school [those] kinds of things would be to tackle the problem head on. I know often people want to put things off and that can exacerbate the problem,” Jaronski said. “We’re talking about making sure that people are allocating enough time to sleeping, eating, exercising, as well as studying and fun.” 

Jaronski recommended setting realistic goals and expectations for personal performance in whatever the source of stress may be, and allocating the time and resources toward said performance. She recommended asking for help early on as well, to begin addressing any issues soon after they’re observed.

These ideas and practices are not always the easiest for students to participate in, as issues can be difficult to open up to others about. Elyse Gessler, a communications professor, said she believes this obstacle is changing because of the proliferation of health information on social media. 

“A lot of our students are very interested in social media and the different types of messages that are coming out online and health communication is currently one of our biggest growing fields. Social media really has helped visibility around the conversation of mental health awareness,” Gessler said. 

Gessler said she’s not a mental health provider, but regularly encourages her students to take advantage of the resources available and find help from those who are. 

“I’m just someone who likes to bring light to the different tools and resources that we have at our disposal and I think that inherently that’s what social media does,” Gessler said. 

The Academic Success Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Student Counseling Services is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.