The Unique and Challenging Experiences Facing College Students

Whether you are fresh out of high school or a returning college student coming back after decades since your last school experience, college life is an exciting, challenging, and unpredictable experience! Sure, there are academic pressures, but there are also emotional, social, financial, and other challenges too. Many people also have to balance working and parenting/familial obligations as well.

I have extensive training and experience in the counseling setting with many of the major issues that college students are coping with, including:

  • Adjusting to life away from home
  • Coping with past abuse and trauma, and/or coping with a physical or sexual assault that has just occurred
  • Striving to become more independent while still staying connected to one’s family of origin
  • Facing major career decisions
  • Learning to make wise choices in one’s relationships and to set boundaries and limits with others when needed
  • Forging a new identity, one that includes being a student and (possibly) being on one’s own for the first time ever

I am very adept at providing longer-term counseling for students. While there are many services on campus for counseling and support, the vast majority of these supports are short-term in nature (for example, most campus counseling centers will provide 4-8 sessions and then look to refer an outside counselor if further counseling is needed)

More information on coping with depression, anxiety, and trauma here. 

Specific Expertise and Resources for College Students

Having a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW), I am no stranger to the pressures and routines of student life.

  • I served at the San Diego State University Counseling Center for an entire academic year during 1996-97.
  • I was an instructor at Lane Community College from 2010-17. In this role, I worked with many students who were returning to school after many years away, as well students aged 18-24 and adjusting to their role as adults who were taking on new and broad responsibilities.
  • I am currently an adjunct instructor at Portland State University in the MSW program (Master’s of Social Work).
  • I served as Volunteer/Internship Coordinator at ShelterCare for several years, a position that involved working closely with many college students as they forged ahead in their careers, gaining experience and confidence
  • I taught classes at LCC that directly addressed college student health, wellness, confidence, and career development. I have a great deal of experience working with college students on career issues, goals, and decisions.
  • Finally, I am a referral source for the University of Oregon Counseling Center. In other words, they refer students to me who are needing longer-term services. This includes couples and relationship counseling, something that I provide quite often. 

On-campus resources are available

It is important to note that there are on-campus resources for a limited amount of short-term (and crisis intervention) counseling that can be accessed by students at any of these higher education institutions:

Struggling academically due to a mental health issue or physical disability?

There is help.

Resources are available for students who are coping with a disability or mental health challenges. Academic accommodations are available at your institution. If needed, seek help from your school’s disability services center.

If You Are a College Student, How Can I Support You?

If you are a college student in the Eugene/Springfield area, and feel as though you’re in need of longer term support, I would encourage you to first inquire at your particular institution. There may be resources available to you that are covered as part of your tuition and fees.

However, you will likely find that the counseling services offered are of a short-term nature (often 4-8 sessions). If this is the case, feel free to contact me at 541-852-3093 or at geneobersinnerlcsw@gmail.com

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