Opinion | In hard times, take advantage of campus resources

Lizzie Bowen, Contributing Writer

COVID-19 has made life more difficult for everyone across the nation, but a specific group of individuals was hit in a way that varied from anyone else: us. 

College students have had to adapt to a completely different way of life. No in-person Bama Bound, no fraternity events, no in-person Get On Board Day, no Halloween events or the infamous haunted houses held in the Ferguson Center. 

The events that tie freshmen together and unite them in their college experience have been cut short. Club organizations have been restricted to only Zoom meetings. Campus has become a rather isolating, sad and quiet place. Tumbleweeds practically drift through campus and the isolation is maddening. I, and many other students, have begun to feel the pressure of isolation and loneliness.

Resources are available for students feeling lonely and anxious during this time period. It is a pandemic that we are walking through together as a school and as a nation. 

The loneliness can be brutal. It might feel like this is never going to end. But there are people who can help.

This fall, the UA Counseling Center has made the transition from personal therapy to online. Therapy calls will now be taken via Zoom or phone call. In-person therapy has been suspended until further notice. 

However, individuals who seek in-person counseling do have options. On-call therapists are still available 24/7, and the counseling center has been making constant adjustments as necessary. 

“A lot has changed. We really try to do everything we can to continue to offer all the services that we had been prior to the pandemic,” said Greg Vander Wal, executive director of the counseling center. “But we also take into account safety and social distancing.”

The center is offering services like support groups and workshops via Zoom as well as some telephone counseling. And if students are seeking traditional face-to-face sessions with a therapist, options are available. Referrals for in-person therapy can be made through a case worker in order to get the best match for the individual and provide the student with the help they need. Telehealth can be a more accessible option for students seeking counseling, and no-show rates have actually decreased, according to Vander Wal. 

As these times continue, it’s important to stay together. We stand united as a family, and this is a time when many people are seeking support. Do not fear to reach out at any time. The number for the Counseling Center is (205) 348-3863. On-call therapists are available after hours for any emergency scenario. 

Reaching out should not be a scary or shameful thing for any student, even though it is easy to feel that way. There is always hope and resources for anyone who feels they are slipping during this time. We’re in this together.