Anxiety Isn’t Uncommon in College

By Olivia Digirolamo

Staff Reporter

Do you have anxiety as a college student? Do you feel anxious about upcoming midterms?

The Wellness Center at Sacred Heart University provides a staff committed to helping students who struggle with anxiety.

According to the Association of University Counseling Center Directors (AUCCD), 47.42 % of students indicate having issues with anxiety during their college career.

The Wellness Center provides several different resources for students struggling with anxiety, and is available for any Sacred Heart student, free of charge. One of the resources provided, is the counseling center, where a student can meet with a counselor for a one-on-one session to discuss their struggles with anxiety.

“As an RSA ( Residential Success Assistant), it’s my job to make sure my residents are getting the best help possible. The Wellness Center has done wonders for many, and if someone needs further advice and attention, I always recommend the Wellness Center,” said sophomore, Gabriella Ruvo.

The Wellness Center also provides meditation; students can unwind in the “Zen Den.” The “Zen Den” is a private room with meditation music, and provides a Zen garden for students to de-stress.

The Wellness Center also offers a support group called “Women’s Group.” This support group is for students to learn from other students’ struggles and create a safe space for communication between peers about their anxiety.

Jocelyn Novella, the Director of Counseling at the Wellness Center, is working on a research study to compare online counseling with in-office counseling. Novella is currently recruiting Sacred Heart undergraduate students who struggle with anxiety, to participate in her study. It is only three sessions long, and the goal of her study is to evaluate anxiety among college students.

Novella said anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue on campus.

“The most common causes for anxiety on campus is academic stress, financial stress, and relationship problems,” said Novella. The Wellness Center has resources that can cater to all of these anxious stressors.

“I get anxiety when I’m overwhelmed by my school work, in I having so much to do, in such little time,” said freshman, Aviana Afflitto.

The Wellness Center also works closely with S.W.E.E.T., which is the Student, Wellness, Education, and Empowerment Team. The S.W.E.E.T. peer educators plan many of the wellness events around campus.

One of the most recognizable events that S.W.E.E.T. and the Wellness Center run, is the appearances of therapy dogs on campus. Students seem to enjoy the therapy dogs on campus, because it’s a distraction from stress and anxiety.

“When I have anxiety around midterms and finals, I love seeing dogs on campus. It always brightens my day a little, and makes me less stressed,” said sophomore, Alexis Palmer.

Novella said there is no scientific explanation to the therapy dogs. “In that moment when a student is petting the dog, they aren’t thinking about their test on Friday,” said Novella.

She said if someone loves animals, then the use of animals will calm that person’s nerves.

“Petting the therapy dogs definitely relieves stress and anxiety,” said senior, Lauren Garizio.

To make an appointment at the Counseling Center by phone, call 203-371-7955.

If students want to participate in the research study, they are encouraged to contact Novella by email, at: or by phone at: 203-371-7955.

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