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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Students joining organizations find impact on mental health and stability

mental health

As incoming students approach college life at Texas State, many will face obstacles such as being far from home, making new friends and discovering new passions. A lot of these big changes can interfere with a student’s mental health which is why local adult therapist, Jenn Popovich, owner of Hiatus Wellness, believes it is vital for students to find a support system.

“College is full of transitions, you know, there’s the initial transition and then the transition out and then all the things in between,” Popovich said. “What we know from data is people who are the most resilient, which means people who are the most able to experience a stressor or change and keep functioning pretty well, are people that have support.”

Popovich believes that upon entering a new environment such as Texas State, students should find a community, organization, place or club to help them navigate and cope through the stressors that come with the transition to college.

“The less support you have the less aware you are, the more isolated we get, the more our thoughts become fact because there’s no one else talking to us about it,” Popovich said. “It’s easy, say something in front of a friend and they go, ‘But that’s not true’… we can really get in our heads and start believing that the way we feel is truth.”

Madison Kinerd, psychology senior, found it hard to find friends and people to talk to during her first year at Texas State. Due to COVID-19, Kinerd wasn’t on campus which made it even harder for her to make connections with others.

Coming back to campus her sophomore year, Kinerd was set on finding the right community for her. After checking out an Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) table on the quad, she decided the organization was the perfect match for her. Kinerd is now the President of ECO.

“I really wanted a community but it was also because of what we do in ECO,” Kinerd said. “We’re really big on conservation and just keeping the planet clean and green and I love the Earth… it was perfect for me and it is where I’ve met a bunch of my friends too.”

Being in ECO, Kinerd has been able to find a support system through the ECO community and has gained a lot of self-confidence since her sophomore year to talk to others. She believes it is super important, not just for incoming freshmen, but for all students to find a place on campus that benefits them the way ECO has her.

“I think especially in college, it gets super hard, mostly because you’re away from home and it’s a whole new environment,” Kinerd said. “So having people around you to support you and just kind of talk to you all the time, while you’re doing school, which gets really tough, is super influential, and it has a huge benefit on your mental health.”

Prior to coming to Texas State, Elizabeth Canchola, international studies senior, grew up in the small town of Mission, Texas, which made adjusting to a larger community a bigger challenge. After a friend dragged her along to join the Korean Culture Club (KCC), Canchola found college easier to handle and a place to call home.

“The first week here I had at Texas State was really hard just because I wasn’t putting myself out there,” Canchola said. “I was just in my dorm cooped up sad and lonely, thinking about how much I missed home. But as soon as I put myself out there and I joined this club it just made life a lot brighter.”

Canchola has now made life long friends who share similar interests with her. The KCC is a place where Canchola feels she can express herself free from judgement and is grateful to have found her own smaller community within Texas State.

“One of the easiest ways to make friends and to really adjust to college life is to enter an org or join an org,” Canchola said. “[Organizations] are a great way because you know that you’re already going to have like a common interest with others, so it’s just a really simple way to click with people.”

There are also several communities outside of Texas State that students can join, whether that’s getting a local job or joining an outside organization or group.

Many clubs and organizations are always welcoming more members. Incoming and current students can find their place on campus by walking through The Quad on campus or through the Texas State student involvement page at studentinvolvement.txst.edu/.

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