Oasis and studio spaces


My Perspective: “Oasis and studio spaces”

Contributor(s): Stefanus Faldo Jatmoko

[My Perspective is a series of blog observations and interviews meant to depict different individuals’ perspectives of their JMU experiences.]

Carolyn Shainheit is a senior staff member at the JMU Counseling Center. She earned her B.A in Psychology from Dickinson College. She always had an interest in people and understanding human behavior, and when she was taking psychology class in high school, it felt like a good fit for her. All the classes and her work in a research lab during undergrad solidified her interest in psychology. She knew she wanted to do more clinical work which is why she earned her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Bucknell University and she finished her PH.D. Clinical Psychology from Miami University. Just a fun fact about her; she secretly wants a moped...preferably with a side car for her dog to ride in. She has a golden doodle as a pet (look it up cause it’s really cute!) and her favorite color is blue.

She is passionate about working with college students in a university setting. As she was doing her internship at Iowa State University, she created programs to support international students and is still excited to work with international students in JMU. She thinks that early adulthood can be fun but it could also be a period for people to face various difficulties. As a clinical psychologist, she strives to create a warm and supportive environment for everyone. She feels strongly about providing a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all individuals seeking support. “It’s my hope that all students, including international students, feel able to access our services and know that it’s common and a sign of strength to do so. The Counseling Center is located on the 3rd floor of the Student Success Center” said Carolyn Shainheit. Due to the recent immigration policy changes, it is nice to know that international students also have a support system here on campus—it makes you feel welcome.

We know that Carolyn put a lot of effort to get to where she is now. All the higher degree education surely took a lot of dedication and commitment for her to accomplish but there were some things that she wished she had known. One is to avoid all the all-nighters she had and two is to have talked to her advisor about her post-graduation plans.

Being a college student is hard enough, being an international student moreover. According to Carolyn, she thinks that the hardest challenge for international students is similar to what domestic students face. College is full of transitions and the things that come with that – navigating friendships, romantic relationships, self-exploration, finding a major, and family issues (to name a few) – are common experiences for many students, whether they’re international or from the US.  I think international students often have the added stress of adjusting to a new culture, being far from family, possibly a new academic system, and sometimes a new language.

There are lots of ways to cope. One thing that can be helpful is to engage with your community and build a support system. One way to do that is by getting involved in campus organizations/clubs and forming connections with others. I also think it’s important to use the resources available to you. For example, don’t hesitate to talk to your professors or teaching assistants if you need help with a class, or go to the writing center if you’re having trouble with a paper. Getting personal support is also incredibly helpful! Talk to someone you trust, maybe a family member or friends, and of course you can always make an appointment at the Counseling Center. “We’re friendly and whether it’s relationship problems, academic stress, or something else we’re happy to help! At the least, you should definitely try out our Oasis (read: massage chairs) and our Studio spaces,” said Carolyn Shainheit. There is also a web page specifically for international students filled with lots of helpful information.

Carolyn thinks that finding balance is really important. For instance, balance out your focus on academics with making friendships and connections on campus. Or try to find a balance between doing things you’re familiar with and trying new things. Challenge yourself but also take care of yourself and have time to relax and have fun. Carolyn said, “I’d also say that college can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful at times. I would encourage students to get the support they need, and want them to know that the Counseling Center is here to help. Counseling is common in the US and is often quite helpful for people.”   

Published: Friday, December 29, 2017

Last Updated: Sunday, January 7, 2018

Back to Top

    Related Articles

  • In Afghanistan, clearing landmines to save lives In Afghanistan, clearing landmines to save lives

    Afghanistan is home to the world's largest landmine removal program, but as special correspondent Jennifer Glasse reports, mine agencies have done little to clear the explosives and casualties are mounting.

  • default image 01-02-potty-mouth-2018

    New! Spring semester Potty Mouth

  • default image Duo Voluntary Enrollment Ends January 17

    On January 17, voluntary enrollment ends and your next login to MyMadison will prompt you to complete Duo enrollment before you can proceed.