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Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Zeke Luger, Queens College

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I am currently a senior majoring in Applied Mathematics, and after graduation I plan on pursuing a career in Quantitative Sociology. It is my eighth year of college due to mental and physical issues that have arisen and slowed down my ability to graduate within four years. The only reason why I was able to afford stretching out my years in CUNY was due to the fact that my parents have payed for my tuition over the years.

My parents, as well as grandparents, are CUNY alumni — they attended CUNY for free. This gave them the opportunity to pursue higher education being that they were coming from a low economic bracket. CUNY was a tool that gave them access to the professional class. This allowed me to go to college without needing financial aid. I have taken advantage of CUNY’s mental health services. I was very active in the social anxiety support group on campus where I really felt the extent of the budget deficit. The group did not have enough time to allow every student to contribute. This may have been due to a budget cut that did not provide enough staff to compensate for the large demand from students. So in order to have smaller groups they cut down the time of each group session.

Dillon Johns, NYC College of Technology

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I am an Accounting and Finance major. I have had more trouble getting into my accounting classes, not my engineering (transferred from engineering to accounting). I tried to sign up 2-3 weeks before classes started and one of my classes was closed already. So I had to drop to a part-time course load this semester and hopefully it’s open the next one.

It hasn’t been easy finding an adviser. I went up to the accounting business finance department and I was greeted by a secretary and I was trying to get advisement and she’s like we don’t really do that here… I talked to a professor and he was like, “you know, I’m not really an adviser,” and he directed me to go online and find the information there. 

I’ve needed other services as well like mental health. I did go a couple times to the counselors. They were very nice to me but they really are there to just give you a referral. They did give me a good referral…but I had to pay for it out of my own pocket. It was expensive. If there were people who would do that here, it would help students a lot, financially.

In terms of physical space in our classes, I have been in a lot of situations where the teacher would give up his desk and people would sit at their desk and the professor just stands up and lectures the whole time. When I first signed up here – I was trying to go to class in one of the elevators [but it malfunctioned and] spit me out into a locked maintenance closet and I was sitting in there for like 20 minutes banging on the door. I eventually had to call 911 and the firefighters came up and opened the door. There were 10 firefighters and NYPD standing outside. Some of these elevators have been out of service for who knows how long.

The biggest reason I had to drop out of the electronics engineering program is because there was no support for people in the program. Any support there was you’d have to hopefully be available during your professor’s office hours, and even then they’re not obligated to do that. The lack of support- the lack of readily available tutors on a schedule that I could make is what led me to drop out of that program and seek something that was my second choice, just because there was nobody here.


Stephanie Moy, Hunter College

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I go to Hunter College, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies, and minoring in Asian American Studies. I would like to preface this by clarifying that although my story will sound oddly similar to other students’ experiences with college, it is not a testament of how poorly we manage our time, but rather it is a multitude of personal and systematic circumstances that make us have to work that much harder to leave college successfully with degrees.

Tuition has been going up every year, yet the quality of education is remaining stagnant. Having been at Hunter for nearly four years, I have seen a decrease in diversity and availability of course offerings throughout the semesters, making it harder to finish elective requirements for my majors. In addition to that, I have lost all my financial aid in the last two years of college, even though FAFSA has been asking for the same tax forms with the same necessary information.

To go from having my financial aid covering the entirety of my tuition to having absolutely no funding, it has been an extreme financial burden. As a full time student with an internship and volunteer extracurricular activities, working a part time job in order to fund my education is another stressor making it all the more difficult to have a successful higher education career. Because of the limited course selections, it makes it more difficult to rearrange my class schedules to allow availability for a part time job.

For my first three years of college, I was working not only as a server three to four days a week, but also as an usher. After attending classes and doing all my extracurriculars in the morning and afternoon, I would have to rush to work, work another seven to eight hours, suffer through immense nightly train delays, and get home at 2 or 3am, only to study and do more schoolwork.

Losing my financial aid and having to pay the ever increasing cost of tuition has compromised not only my educational success in college, but also my mental and physical health. For years, I was only getting two the three hours of sleep maximum, if any at all. In addition to that, there were days I did not have time to meal prep and bring lunch from home, leaving me no choice, but to either buy lunch at school or skip out on meals because I simply could not afford it. This is why CUNY schools need more funding for more opportunities to expand financial aid programs.

Maria Obmachkina, Hunter College

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I am studying psychology.  I receive the Pell Grant and TAP.  I had to drop chemistry because it was so hard and I ended up becoming part time that semester.  It disqualified me from TAP mid semester, which was really stressful.  Another semester, I dropped Russian and the same thing happened.  If I didn’t receive financial aid at all during college I would be in a lot of debt, probably have a mental breakdown. 

I work as a home attendant 20 hours a week.  I used to do tutoring.  I pay for food out of pocket.  I live with my grandma and we have SNAP.  When I first got into school it was hard to register for the courses I needed.  If college was free it would mobilize and expand people.  People would have more time.  It would help people in need that can barely survive.  Transportation is the biggest challenge for me as a student.  It takes me 2 hours each way.  Also mental health.  There needs to be better mental health services and services for non traditional students. 

 

 

Darina Kozoub, Hunter College

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I study Precolonial History.  I am a 4th year student receiving  a TAP award and the Pell Grant.  I work 30 hours a week as a home attendant.  Pell covers textbooks, metrocard and food.  I live with my mom so I don’t have to worry about rent.

It is stressful to work and be in school.  I wouldn’t be in school if I didn’t receive financial aid.  I’d be working.  I am not graduating on time, I have to stay an extra year and will run out of TAP.  It stresses me out a lot I don’t know what I’m going to do.  It’s really messed up that in order to receive TAP I’ve been forced to be full time.  It’s a lot of work, I can’t handle it.  The workload from five classes is a lot.  Paper after paper.  12 credits is considered full time but you can’t graduate on time. 

Most people I know don’t graduate in 4 years.  The hardest part about being a student is balancing work and finances, it effects my mental health.  We need better mental health services!  Food is super expensive too, especially at Hunter which is on the Upper East Side. Who can afford to spend $10 a day on food? It’d be great if there was an affordable option for students.