Institutional factors exacerbate student misery (opinion)

The past few years have seen a marked increase in the plight of adolescents and college students, and college counseling centers have been overwhelmed with service delivery. The $ 64 million question is often asked “What’s wrong with these students?”

This question is an unfortunate invitation for our students to blame and sacrifice. These simple thoughts fall short of considering the relevant and methodological factors that contribute to the plight of students. Instead of thinking about how (or not) our communities are working together to create the current challenges, we look at them as problems.

In the following, we offer some thoughts on what institutional factors contribute to student misery. Our vision is based on our experience as a director of a college counseling center at the forefront of the mental health of college students and the developmental model that we use in our clinical work with students. Ongoing interactions between clinical work and theory have led us to expand a model of college student development that focuses on the importance of being curious about differences, setting boundaries, and being able to cope with frustration.

While others have noted that the transition to college revolves around the isolation and segregation of our early developmental work, our developmental model argues that this time is an opportunity to focus not only on the repetition of previous years but also on its existential aspects. The process of becoming. College-age students, for example, who work to establish a vibrant identity, must struggle with the notion that they cannot be everything or all things that they or loved ones imagined. The perceptions that young children have to face will not always meet all their needs, how students come to mourn and accept it has a significant impact on their sense of being and the way they occupy a place in the world in relation to others.

Moreover, the context of this process is also different. Unlike in childhood, when our students were completely dependent on their primary caregivers, as late teens and young adults, they are now more self-sufficient and agents. Accordingly, our higher education institutions are not, and should not be, considered loco parenting. Our institutional community, of course, has a responsibility toward students. Just as parents play an important role in informing their children about how to navigate from complete dependence on independent subjects, college administrators, faculty and staff members also play an important developmental role in shaping how our students experience and nurture their sense of self.

In this discussion and in describing that role, our college and university communities are inadvertently participating in creating a mature system for mental anguish. Three issues, none of which reflect bad intentions or rudeness on our part as administrators, faculty and staff, come together to create something of a perfect storm: 1) moving away from value-based learning that focuses on critical thinking and ” A promising “transformative experience” towards “being”; 2) the dilemma of recognizing the systemic and structural factors contributing to trauma, inequality, and suffering, including the Kovid-19 epidemic; And 3) concerns about the use of authority, especially when it is forced to establish boundaries that define boundaries of responsibility and establish ways to remedy grievances and conflicts.

A change of focus

Many colleges have moved away from the focus on value-based education, shifting students’ offerings, particularly to the development of critical thinking, and to a mature recognition of local highs and lows for scholarship and personal growth. The promise of an essential and only positive “transformational experience” is an unrealistic (and, consequently, very often glimpse).

Academic and personal growth that focuses on providing a transformative experience rather than preparing for challenges represents a failure to prepare students for the future. While we usually hear (without data support) how students are “less resilient” than previous generations, the overemphasis on our community’s transformative experience makes us less busy preparing students for both the growing joy of achievement and the frustration of failure. Too often we try to ignore the painful truth that although we all have potential, it is never limitless. We lag behind in our appreciation of the paradox that helping students face them and accepting the boundaries — even as we support them to reach the stars গুরুত্বপূর্ণ is fundamentally important to being able to assume the maturity required for their strong scholarship and good citizenship. And yet, the tendency to make false promises about the perception of “your limitless and special possibilities” is often seen as necessary to compete in the post-secondary marketplace. It invites an unrealistic expectation in students that all their needs and aspirations will be met, it will be “the best four years of your life.”

Only those students who seemingly transform without stumbling and transform into smiling for four years are not the only students who wonder, “What happened to me?” A good question might be “What’s wrong with what we’re promising as a college?”

Conflict around inequality and inequality

To our credit, we have worked hard to diversify our campuses by enrolling students in our colleges and universities who could not traditionally attend college for any reason. In many cases, these student scholarships, summer programs, and special on-campus groups are designed to facilitate their transition and prepare them for the upcoming academic challenges. Nonetheless, it is wise to consider whether our efforts are sufficient, especially if our goal is to provide a transformative experience.

For example, international students often get one week of orientation before class starts. These efforts are often thought out but within a time-limited frame. The infrastructure to address the needs and dilemmas of these students is almost always absent, many of which only emerge over time. International students often face specific challenges that cannot penetrate the consciousness of American peer students. For example, some of these students must send money to help their families at home and lack money for their own basic needs.

What is our moral responsibility towards these students? On the one hand, we have reasonably been generous in accepting and supporting their opportunities for a difficult education. On the other hand, our support for students who do not conform to the traditional ideas and images of college students is often unequal. While we may not feel it is our responsibility to pay close attention to these students, the promise of a transformational education leaves our voices hollow if these students have to scramble terribly to secure even the basics that allow them to continue. Institution

When idealistic and optimistic students feel failed or lost, they (like anyone) react with sadness, frustration, and anger. Tolerating being a frustrating “bad” object (or player) becomes our challenge as members of the organization. How we respond to the complexity of students’ feelings can be problematic. We may be annoyed with students that their needs have not been met, or we may compete with this conclusion. In addition to any one of these responses, we can also feel annoyed that our good and good intentions are not being seen and appreciated. Feelings of inadequacy may predominate throughout the organization, creating widespread frustration, anxiety, and resentment.

Of course, the questions of what exactly is sufficient and who should determine it are important. The answers to these questions are almost always elusive, no matter how often we wrestle with them in our administrative meetings. However, in this endeavor it is important that we do not conclude our questions with a self-explanatory conclusion that “there must be something wrong with them” (students). When we come to this simple conclusion, we have avoided the important concern that we would do better to acknowledge and own.

Concerns about the use of authority

When students express their pain, either through angry protests or by expressing symptoms of distress, we have often struggled with how administrators, teachers and staff members should respond. As we have suggested above, a complex reason for this is that we may feel frustrated at not being able to do enough and count on our own frustration and guilt that falls short in our efforts to be helpful. While the plight of some students is an inevitable product of promises to students that we cannot provide, some plight only reflects the hard truths of life যেমন for example, none of us get our desired fulfillment এবং and that life is different from its potential and random effects.

We do not say this to promote apathy and helplessness, but as an existential truth that relates to the evolutionary process of “being” with which we all have to fight in order to be fully involved in our lives. When we are young children, we must give up our omnipotent desire for perfection and our ideological belief in someone else, the “other” who can meet every need. When we do that, we initially feel anger and resentment and then, after a while, feel sadness and guilt because we realize how harmful we have been to others in preventing us from accepting this limitation of life and living. What we are underlining here is that this realization is not a solitary (completely inter-mental) phenomenon, but rather, an interpersonal (inter-mental) achievement. Central to the ultimate acceptability of limitations and deficits is how our primary caregivers tolerate and even embrace their own imperfections and imperfections.

However, when we as parents and then, increasingly, older adults in our higher education institutions cannot tolerate our own imperfections and guilt, we unfortunately tend to refuse to use our authority properly. As students struggle with their own and others’ limitations, we become obsessed with which boundaries to emphasize.

For example, students want to bring all kinds of complaints to us in administration, such as institutional policy, interpersonal difficulties, hardships and annoyances that they think are inflexible academic deadlines, or general dissatisfaction with how things are done. How often in this case do we work not only to understand their grievances but also to set limits on what seems reasonable to them? In other words, how often can we set limits, saying that a deadline has actually been set or that there is no money to help a student in need? Although we personally want to change the deadline or provide more resources and agree with them about the “injustice” of the situation, our role is to keep the boundaries despite our personal opinions. However, when we feel swallowed up by our own guilt, badness, or even resentment for being in this position, we can quickly try to appease these students, suggest retaliatory action that in some cases cannot be met, and by doing so, A co-construction. The vicious cycle.

When we as administrators, faculty or staff always aspire to be parents, we miss the opportunity to create a caring community that recognizes its own limitations, for which it and others who approach it to find a strong position. . The anxious and frustrated image of our imperfections and imperfections sets the tone for students to abandon anxiously and anxiously.

Thinking of finishing

Our efforts to shift the question of “what is wrong with students” draw us to view student misery as a symptom of a larger institutional challenge. Considered in this way, we can think of our institutions (consisting of students and adults) as patients. By doing this, we create a place to think about how we co-create environments that promote the emotional pain that is unjustly imposed on our teenage and young adult students.

Changing our perspective enables us to explore three related strands that contribute to students’ mental health crises. While not a comprehensive explanation of the totality of student mental anguish, consideration of these factors enables us to consider more fully the existential and developmental contexts of meaning in creating student experiences.

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