Five years of college has brought me friendships that will last a lifetime, breathtaking travel experiences, inspirational mentors, heart-warming memories and professional and academic skills that will serve me in more than just my career.
Despite all of this good, I have found myself, more than once, searching for support that I never thought I would need.
The transition to adulthood is filled with uncertainty, and it can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate.
I transferred to Missouri State University my junior year of college to complete my undergraduate degree in English education, which I completed in December 2021. I am currently a graduate student in the English literature program.
In college, I have struggled with academics, finances, mental health, personal safety and have watched many of my friends go through the same.
Fortunately, Missouri State has resources that have supported me through the struggles that I have encountered.
Here are 10 campus resources you should know about when you start college:
You may have an evening class during your college career that leaves you walking back to your dorm or car in the dark.
I’ve been in this situation before and gripping my pepper spray doesn’t really make me feel much safer. Having someone walk with me is a great alternative.
With the university’s Safe Walk service, you can have a campus safety officer escort you safely to your destination on campus.
Not everyone works while attending school, but if you do, you know the struggle of finding an employer who will work with your class schedule.
I used the student employment services website to find my first job when I moved to Springfield. Most of the jobs listed are geared toward college students, so there was less sifting through job descriptions than the typical job search site.
Depending on your needs, it may be worth expanding your job search beyond this database, but it is a great place to start.
Regardless of what you are studying, writing is a big part of college. When I first went to a tutoring session, I thought I was just going to have my paper proofread. The tutor ended up helping me make some major writing improvements.
The Bear CLAW has in-person and online options for getting assistance with your writing.
There are also tutoring options available for many subject areas including presentation help and course mentoring.
Learning Diagnostic Evaluation Services
A friend of mine was struggling consistently in her classes until she found out about and got support for her ADHD, which was making it difficult for her to stay focused.
She found help through the Learning Diagnostic Clinic’s evaluation services, a campus resource that conducts screenings for and provides support to students with “learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and other psychological disorders that may affect learning.”
Your mental health can influence your social life, academics and relationships.
I used to think I had to have a severe reason to seek counseling, so I put off reaching out for a long time.
Whether your concern is small, or you are at the end of your rope, I encourage you to seek mental health support. Learning to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically is one of the most important things you can work on as a young adult.
As a student, you have access to various support sources through the Counseling Center including several free counseling sessions per semester.
My hope is that food insecurity is not something that anyone struggles with in college, but sometimes a tight budget can lead to an unhealthy diet or a lack of food.
I was startled when I realized one of my friends was living off one small meal a day until she got her next paycheck. She was living off campus and had no idea there was a resource for her.
Missouri State has a program called the Bear Pantry where students have access to free food, fresh produce and essential personal items.
Technology is expensive, but it is becoming increasingly more necessary to be successful in college.
Several of my class projects would have been a flop if I had not used this service.
Health clinic and fitness center
Just like your mental health, your physical health can affect many other aspects of your life.
Maybe you’re like me and you had no idea where to start a personal fitness journey or you’ve felt like WebMD is the closest you can get to a professional medical opinion while you’re in college.
Campus recreation equipment rental
One of my favorite things about going to Missouri State is being surrounded by the beautiful natural setting of the Ozarks.
Enjoying the outdoors when you live in the Ozarks is a must but finding the proper equipment to make your adventure successful can be expensive.
Title IX Office
The goal of the Title IX office is to provide support and protection for students in a variety of circumstances related to sexual assault and violence.
Title IX pays special attention to confidentiality, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help, want to file a report or have questions about something that has happened to you or a friend.
They also have information about pregnancy accommodation, bystander intervention, legal advice, protection against discrimination and more.
Asking for help
It’s more fun to focus on the Instagram worthy content in college, but I would not have enjoyed most of that if I did not start taking care of myself first.
Use these resources, ask for help and find the support system that you need.
I want you to have the best college experience possible, and maybe, like me, you’ll find it here at MSU.