Therapy dogs

With a new year on the horizon, the Class of 2021 is preparing for their first college days in Blacksburg. The transition to college can be hard for some people, as it is likely their first time living on their own and being responsible for themselves and their academics. It can be a high-stress situation, but luckily Virginia Tech provides a few key stress-relieving resources to help its students transition smoothly.

Cook Counseling Center, located in McComas Hall, aims to assist students in managing their stress, health and academics. The staff does so through various programs from counseling to presentations and discussions. They provide individual and group counseling options that students may utilize to discuss anything from anxiety to loneliness to ways to stay healthy while in college.

Cook also has free online modules for students who need help managing their stress and self-care. Similar topics are also discussed through outreach programs. These seminars are in-person and are led by a staff member in either presentation or discussion format.

Academic workshops are also readily available to students to assist in enhancing their skills to make the transition from high school to college level work easier. These workshops focus more on improving academic habits like time management, study skills and test anxiety. However, they range in topic greatly and even include stress management concentration techniques.

Aside from Cook, Virginia Tech offers many other stress-relief outlets to its students to ensure their success. Organizations and clubs are a large aspect of Virginia Tech’s campus and a great medium to meet new people and take a break from academic stress.

There are more than 700 active student clubs on campus, making it pretty much impossible to not find at least one that fits your personality and interests. A seemingly endless amount of options may be daunting, but luckily the Division of Student Affairs hosts Gobblerfest every fall semester on the Drillfield and GobblerConnect has descriptions of clubs and ways to contact executive members with questions.

Gobblerfest allows students to meet members of a variety of clubs on campus and hear about what they do and even join their Listserv to receive emails and updates about meetings. This year it will be held on Sept. 8, 2017, at 4 p.m.; it’s definitely an event no student will want to miss, and a great way to take a break from reading syllabi for all your classes (plus, there will be a ton of free stuff).

Along with organizations are intramural sports, a great way to stay active and get away from your dorm and textbooks. There is a $20 membership fee that lets you play any sport all year long. Anything from flag football to dodgeball to horseshoes is offered so that any student can find the perfect sport for them.

If sports are not your thing — don’t worry, Virginia Tech has two gyms: McComas and War Memorial in order for you to stay active, which according to the American Psychological Association “may even improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress.” So you’ll help your body and your mind all in one.

Saving the best for last, VT Helping P.A.W.S. (Pet Assisted Wellness Service) has its teams visit the Squires Student Center and Newman Library throughout the semester. So you can take a break from studying and fill the void of your pets at home through playing with their adorable dogs and cats.

Virginia Tech was ranked No. 1 by The Princeton Review in 2017 for “Best Quality of Life” and also landed in the top 20 colleges in the nation for “Happiest Students,” so although the transition might be hard, just know that you made a great decision by becoming a Hokie.

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