Freshman year, I left my home in a small town in Alabama, ready to take on the world. Bags packed in the car, my family and I headed to The University of Alabama excited for a semester full of new friends, memories and experiences. Before I knew it, my parents were gone, my old friends were living their lives at home and my school experience was no longer in small classrooms with a teacher I had known for all of high school. It was unbelievably difficult and a learning curve for which I was not prepared. The campus got big, and I just started to feel small.
Flash forward to the spring semester of 2019, I had not been eating well and ended up going to the hospital needing IV fluids. I felt so alone. My dorm room became my sanctuary, and my social life quickly became confined to that as well. Halfway through that semester, I found myself taking an ambulance back to the hospital despite my reluctance, this time for a psych evaluation after my unhealthy habits had gotten out of hand. I felt like it was too late. I felt so hopeless and without support.
During that hospital stay, I got a visit from a UA representative. They were there, they cared and they helped. It wasn’t too late, and there was still hope. It showed me that there were people on this campus who wanted to look out for students. The office of Student Care and Well-Being kept in touch with me after all these events. There were people there to talk to and resources provided for me to seek proper help. In my time of need, it was a light in a dark situation.
The Office of Student Care and Well Being is located on the third floor of the student center.
The office for Student Care and Well-Being is located in the Student Center and focuses on the health and safety of The University of Alabama’s students. I spoke to the director of Student Care and Well-Being, Jeremy Henderson, to ask a few questions that many students who find themselves in a rut may be wondering.
Henderson describes the office of Student Care and Well-Being as a place to help UA students going through a variety of challenging circumstances, including, but not limited to, financial hardships, food insecurity, mental health concerns, difficulties with family members at home and more. Henderson said the office is a place that provides a listening ear for students, shows students compassion whenever problems arise, cares for students and identifies resources to develop a plan so that students feel like someone is in their corner.
A variety of resources provided directly by the office of Student Care and Well-Being are available, including a food pantry, an emergency financial assistance program and a Bama Dining partnership that provides meal swipes to students in need. However, the office’s main focus is to direct students to outside resources like the counseling center on campus, temporary emergency services or even United Way agencies. The office of Student Care and Well-Being staff are also well equipped for helping students navigate processes on campus, such as having to go through a medical withdrawal or needing assistance with student housing and can serve as an advocate to others on behalf of the student.
According to Henderson, if one is in need of help, the first step is to reach out. Students are welcome to call, email or visit the office, or one can go to bamacares.ua.edu and fill out a student of concern report. The office and form can be outlets to reach out about someone else’s well-being as well. Henderson also advised that it is always better to seek help sooner than later. The whole idea behind the office of Student Care and Well-Being is the notion of early intervention.
While resources for seeking guidance, help or just a friend to talk to are not limited on campus to just the office of Student Care and Well-Being, it is a great place to start. In addition, the website has more information on the many other resources to get students connected, including links to Safe Zone, UAPD and the Counseling Center’s website.
In the meantime, take a deep breath and find what makes you happy. Enjoy being a student and spending time at Bama. If you need somewhere to clear your head, check out these great spots on and around campus or stop by the Student Care and Well-Being office.
The quad is a great place to take a break and enjoy some of the scenery on campus.