Article by Matt Hubbard | Photography by John Merkel | Owl Staff

A college education comes with no small amount of stress attached. Juggling assignments, quizzes, tests, exams and what little free time may remain is a great feat in itself. The stress and anxiety caused by this academic exertion could use some relief, a sentiment HCC agrees with.

In an effort to maintain the well-being of its students, HCC is in the process of implementing new wellness programs for students enrolled in credit courses. One of the new initiatives added is the counseling center.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Pat Watson, a licensed clinical social worker, will be on campus as HCC’s on-site counselor in the Student Center, room 104. Watson offers five free sessions per semester for each student.

“Having someone to talk to or a quiet space to reflect and relax can work wonders for a person’s emotional well-being.”

“That way if they [students] need to talk, they have somewhere to go that isn’t stressful,” says Watson. She notes that most of the students she sees come by way of professor/advisor recommendation.

In addition to the on-site counselor, the Student Intervention and Prevention team consists of college employees who work with students to connect them with resources both on and off campus.

“We are not counselors. We are here to address students in the moment and provide them with necessary resources,” says Director for Disability and Student Intervention Services, Nicole Hoke Wilson.

By going online to HCC’s website and filling out an anonymous report concerning someone’s behavior, students can connect themselves or others to a beneficial array of resources.

Along with the Student Intervention and Prevention Team comes the meditation program.

Laura Burke, HCC’s Student Wellness and Programming Specialist, says, “Your brain is a muscle, and you have to exercise it; the best way to exercise your brain is to meditate.” The new meditation program is an all-inclusive, free activity for students to practice whatever they want.

The meditation program is available from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, in room 104 in the student center. Students can schedule meditation times in the Student Life Office or sign up online. In addition, the Towson University, Northeastern Maryland building on campus offers meditation opportunities in room 114, open all hours of operation to both HCC and Towson Students.

Vice President of Student Affairs Jacqueline Jackson hopes for a future “Wellness Center,” something she “dreams of having at HCC.” This program will not only include a space for counseling and meditation, but a food pantry as well.

Jackson states that 16% of college students indicated in a survey that they have some type of food anxiety. Jackson says, “The food pantry will be HCC’s first step in helping end food insecurity in college students.” Jackson’s goal for the Wellness Center is to eliminate stigma, and to have a holistic approach to better the well-being of students.

Having someone to talk to or a quiet space to reflect and relax can work wonders for a person’s emotional well-being.

This wellness upgrade at HCC will aid students in their education and provide stepping stones on a path to a greater sense of wellness and fulfillment.

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