A Renison Student’s Experience of Counselling

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A Renison Student’s Experience of Counselling. Image shows two people sitting across from one another.

“I gained a new perspective on university and mental health overall”

Arriving on campus, or starting online courses for the first time, can be overwhelming. It’s common for students to need time and support to adjust to the circumstances that come with them. At Renison, students have many sources of support that they can rely on, including a team of dedicated Student Services Counsellors. When we posted a series of images on “Counselling Myths” on our social media channels this summer, a student reached out to us to tell us about how counselling was helpful for her. She wanted to share her story to help end the stigma of beginning counselling, and send a message to those who might need support that they aren’t alone. We will refer to this student as M in this article, to maintain her privacy.

When M started at Renison, she struggled with the transition from high school to university. As she tried to adjust to life in residence, she assumed that everyone around her was settling in well and had made many friends. M, on the other hand, felt very isolated and believed that those around her weren’t interested in her friendship.

M made an appointment with Student Services Counsellor Reta Franci after seeing a poster at Renison. She was able to begin counselling quite shortly after she emailed Reta, scheduling a session for the following week.

M was nervous to meet with Reta, but was reassured by the fact that Reta had a private room and a sound machine to ensure that the session was confidential. Eventually, M says, she was able to be open with Reta as she would with a good friend.

Reta helped M understand that a sense of isolation was normal experience in the transition from high school to university; she wasn’t the only one experiencing it. M gained a new perspective on both university and mental health, and felt much more confident when she began her second year of study. According to M, sessions not only gave her an opportunity to reflect, but they also gave her tools to explore her feelings outside of them. One of the highlights for M was learning about the benefits of meditation, which she now uses in her routine for self-care.

When asked what she would say to you, her fellow students, who may have considered counselling, M said that there should be a fit between you and persons in roles to support you. She added that there may not be an immediate ‘click’; you may need time to feel comfortable to be open and persons in roles to support you may need time to learn about your particular needs. However, you may want to schedule a session with others to see if you would be more comfortable with them. The best case scenario, said M, is that you gain a new perspective about your situation. The worst case? It’s you lose an hour. You don’t need to return. M also gave Reta high praise, saying that although she has seen others for counselling before, Reta was the most helpful.

Renison students who live in Ontario are able to access remote counselling at this time. Location restrictions are related to professional regulations.

Renison students who live outside of Ontario are able to receive guidance with referrals.

Send an email to a Student Services Counsellor to connect.

Reta Franci, MSW, RSW:
reta.franci@uwaterloo.ca

Jannah Tudiver, MA, RP, CCC:
jtudiver@uwaterloo.ca

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