Today: Jun 25, 2024

Change your perspective with Building a Better You program

Build a Better You is a program focused on self improvement.

Aaron Johnson General Assignment Reporter

NEW HAVEN – Each week in the basement of Farnham Hall on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University, Denise Zack and Cate Barber lead a group of students — usually freshmen — in a open support group to help students with the new and exciting world of college.

“I work in the counseling center and Cate is the graduate intern for programming and outreach,” said Zack. “As a division of student affairs department, it’s really important for the counseling center to be out in the community letting students know we are there and letting them know we understand some of the issues they may be dealing with.”

The Building a Better You program is open to all students regardless of what issues are being dealt with. The group works as a small, but intimate support system for all.

“The Building a Better You series is something that the counseling services does every semester. The topic kind of varies based off of what we see, what might be a challenge, or what is beneficial to students,” said Barber.

Zack said that she thinks the benefits of the Building a Better You program — as well as the other programs similar to it — are amazing for the students on campus.

“Each student usually takes something different away. I would say students feel like there is a place for them to go and there is a department on campus that is consistently providing support,” said Zack.

Build a Better You is a program focused on self improvement.
Building a Better You is a program focused on self improvement.

During each session, the group performs several activities to emphasis the lesson or theme for that given week.

“We base the activities off the topic that we’re discussing that week and what we think the students will take the most away from,” said Barber.

According to the program pamphlet, the Building a Better You Program is developed with the person in mind. Each session focuses on a different aspect of the challenges an everyday college student faces. Another key part of the program Zack said is making sure that students realize that the problems and issues they are facing may always be the same as another person.

“We really want to draw students in so that they get connected to some of our services and so they can have a place to talk about some of the things they may be struggling with along with other students, ” said Zack.

Although in past semesters the program has been centered around stress and how students deal with it, This fall semester program is based around students transitioning from high school to the life of a college student.

“Last semester, we did a mindfulness program based on meditation and stress,” said Barber. “But this fall semester, you know, is typically that adjusting to college a lot of first year or transitioning issues students might be coming across and then second semester we dive in a little bit deeper in to that.”

Another key issue that the Building a Better You Program touches on is that students walk away with a new understanding of themselves.

“We really want students to learn about themselves,” said Zack. “We want them to begin to think a little bit more reflectively about how they operate and develop some insights about how they move through the world and be able to take stock in making adjustments or seeking resource or developing skills that will help them be more successful. At the end of the day, a student who has a healthy mind and is more stable will be able to do well academically.”

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