Reaching Out

With only two weeks left in the Fall Semester, it’s possible that the volume of assignments, projects, and goals you have on your plate can feel quite overwhelming. Thanksgiving Break, while full of food and family, was far less productive than you might have expected, and for some reason, many of your professors are requiring your finals be complete before finals week even begins. Suddenly, it’s practically getting dark outside shortly after lunchtime, and all of your favorite spaces to study and work are full of noisy people that you’ve never seen before. You might idle away on Facebook or Twitter, or take snow pictures and post them on the College’s Instagram page, rather than researching on JSTOR or searching Tripod. And that’s ok! It’s all about balance.

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The last weeks of semester are full of objectives, deadlines, and yes, stress. As the days tick down and the work only increases, please remember that there are an immense number of people at Haverford who are here to help you. That might include a faculty mentor, your Dean, a research librarian, CAPS counselor, or yet another member of the staff or faculty with whom you would feel comfortable. You may just want to talk over a challenging assignment, review your planned schedule for all of your finals, or distract yourself by planning an event for next semester. You should! So often, students say “I didn’t want to bother you since I know you’re busy, so I didn’t email you or set up an appointment.” It’s not a bother at all – in fact, it’s our job to help!

Now some of you may be thinking; “Honestly, I don’t think I know any of those people well enough to feel comfortable“. Many of those people can seem anonymous to you, especially in the sea of resources at Haverford. When I was a sophomore at Haverford (these were the days before the release of the iPad), I didn’t know who my Dean was, certainly wasn’t close with any particular faculty member, found research librarians to be brilliantly intimidating (from afar, I’ll admit) and wasn’t sure if going to CAPS was something I was supposed to do. So, taking advantage of my enlightened hindsight, I’ll suggest a few specific people or offices you should contact if you want to talk about anything over these next few weeks. In no particular order, try these few:

  • Call 610-896-1290 and talk to Patty Rawlings from CAPS. She’ll help you schedule an appointment to talk about anything you like. You don’t have to have an emergency – you’re just making an appointment to discuss whatever you’d like with someone.
  • Email your Dean and ask to meet with them. Don’t know who your Dean is? Click here and look under Assigned Students to find your letter of the alphabet.
  • Reach out to Kelly Wilcox or Lionel Anderson in the Office of Academic Resources. In one conversation, they can change your world. Seem like too big of a promise? Try it and let me know.
  • Do you like one of your professors and think you might feel comfortable talking to them? Make an appointment or visit their office hours to talk. You might be surprised quite how interested they are in mentoring and supporting you. (Also, you may not know this, but your faculty advisor exists for more than just approving your class registration. Send them a note and ask for their help!)
  • If you’re preoccupied and overwhelmed by the search for internships, jobs, etc., the folks in the CCPA are more than willing to talk things over with you. Call 610-896-1181 and make an appointment!
  • There are so many others that I’ve left out of this short list who are valuable resources for you too. Remember that anyone you know or like talking to or working with can be a confidant or advisor. You might even want to come and talk to me – and I hope you will!

No matter what, be sure to reach out before it’s too late for anyone to help you! You can certainly email someone the night before your last final is due, but I’m not sure how much anyone could help at that point. Think ahead so you can make the best use of their assistance!

Lastly, and most importantly, if it’s ever an emergency, please call Campus Safety immediately at 610-896-1111. Good luck finishing up this semester – I hope these weeks are productive and positive, and that you feel comfortable accessing the help that you need in this time.

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