Graduates Anonymous

The Psychological Counseling Center at SUNY New Paltz is now hosting a group that will bring seniors together to express what concerns they have about graduating.

The group, Gearing Up For Graduation, aims to bring graduating  students together to speak about their concerns and what graduation means to them. The group will be hosted by Catherine Davies, the co-facilitator at the SUNY New Paltz Counseling Center, and Carrie Schapker, a social work intern.

Davies and Schapker started the group due to the stressful job market awaiting students when they graduate. The objective is to help students realize that they are not at all alone in their post-matriculation concerns. Every student may have a different situation that they want to speak about.

“Some students are worried that if they return home they are a failure, others may be concerned about applying to grad school,” Davies said. “This group will provide perspective and give these students a comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their concerns.”

The group was supposed to start  meeting in the beginning of April on Monday afternoons, however not enough students were aware it existed.

Caroline Monahan, a fourth-year student, said she would definitely attend the group.

“I am so bad at coping with graduating,” Monahan said. “This would be comforting because everyone is a wreck and so many of us don’t know what we want to do.”

Schapker just graduated herself and said she understands the unsettling feeling that comes with making the next steps after college. Schapker said she hopes students will be able to relate to her and that the group will hold discussions that are challenging. She said she will speak of her own experiences and help to facilitate the group.

“I heard about Catherine’s idea and jumped on it,” Schapker said.  “The feeling of entering unknown territory is very relevant to me right now, so it will make the group more relatable.”

All of the discussions held in the group are completely confidential. Members of the group will all have a chance to speak about their own experiences and concerns. Some students have a rough home life or have personal feelings.  The group would be a place where they can express these feelings with complete confidentiality.

“Things always seem bigger and scarier when you look at them,” Schapker said. “Talking about it and bringing it into the light will help to evaluate their fears and worries.”

Schapker said the group still plans to hold meetings once enough people sign up for the group. This will give students a chance to have a confidential outlet they can go to every week.

“We just want students to know that they are not alone in their concerns,” Davies said. “It brings comfort to know that if they are not successful right out of college, they are still not a failure.”