LTE by Dr. Eric Rose

In response to Mind of a Freshman from October 28

To Audrey, who wrote “I Feel Sick:” thank you. I was moved by your piece. As I read it, I imagined other students reading your words and recognizing that perhaps they are not alone in their struggles. My favorite lines were these: “Is this just what it means to be a freshman? I don’t know. I don’t like this version of myself.” These lines capture so much about the pain of not feeling like your best self. They reflect the uncertainty of not knowing whether to expect that things are even supposed to improve.

Challenges can arise in any academic year, but in my experience as a psychologist who works with college students freshman year can be especially hard. I can confidently say that for most freshman who are struggling things will get better. At some point, old strengths and confidences return. The feeling of being an impostor fades away, and a feeling of belonging takes its place. One’s best-self returns again.

For some, however, there can be a painful span of suffering between the start of freshman year and the time they get their footing. For others, things don’t seem to feel better, no matter how much time they give it. To these students in particular, I’d like you to know that help is available.

Audrey, in the middle of your piece, you wrote: “…when I’m lost, it’s difficult for me to admit that I am.” To any student who is feeling lost in the way you so eloquently described: you don’t have to go it alone. Counseling and Psychological Services is a free and confidential service available to all students at Stevens. There are people here who care and are trained to help. Appointments can be made by calling 201-216-5177.

One last thing. In your article, you mention your network of friends and express gratitude for how much they have helping you stay afloat. You ask: why would they be so invested in you? What is it they see in you? I imagine they catch a glimpse of what many of your readers have likely glimpsed: a thoughtful, introspective, and articulate soul.



Eric D. Rose, Ph.D.

Director, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Stevens Institute of Technology