College can be one of the best parts of your young life. It can also be extremely uncomfortable. Many students work at least one job while taking classes and trying to maintain a social life, not to mention the countless other obligations they have toward their families and personal professional development.
It’s hard to be a student! There’s rarely extra money to go toward anything luxurious, sometimes even toward necessities. It’s completely normal to struggle when you’re just starting out on your own.
The beginning of a new semester is a tough time, but it’s also an opportunity to make changes that could improve your life during college. If you find yourself overwhelmed, consider taking advantage of the resources that UCCS offers to students.
- Single Stop — This is a service that allows UCCS students to complete a quick screening and receive a list of public benefits they may be eligible for, such as SNAP or Medicaid. The screening takes 10-15 minutes, but the Single Stop website also has a tool that allows you to search for resources in your community such as childcare, citizenship and immigration, housing or legal help. If you would like to receive assistance applying for these resources, consider contacting basic needs coordinator Amber Gilson ([email protected]).
- Clyde’s Cupboard — A recent analysis by the Colorado Sun found that the price of five common grocery items increased by 35% in the last five years. Buying food is hard, and it’s even harder to go to class hungry. Clyde’s Cupboard is a non-need-based food pantry, meaning all enrolled students are free to take what they need from a selection of donated food and toiletries. Located in University Center room 102, open Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Tuesday/Thursday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. All you need is your student barcode on the UCCS app to get in.
- MOSAIC and LGBTQ+ Resource Center — Building community on campus is crucial to feeling grounded during your time as a student. MOSAIC and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center are here to assist students while providing an inclusive space for marginalized students. MOSAIC is hosting welcome hours Jan. 22-23 where students can meet program coordinators (first 15 students get a welcome kit). On Jan. 30 the LGBTQ+ Kickback invites all students to participate in games and giveaways, and food will be provided. Register for these events on MLC or stop into the MOSAIC office Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in UC 110 for a safe space to hang out.
- Disability Services and accommodations — If you need academic accommodation this semester, you can request assistance through the Disability Services application. This application requires medical documentation to support your request and can be used for academic accommodation, on-campus housing or as a resource for pregnant people that need temporary support. Disability Services uses the Accommodate Portal, where students can set up appointments with a disability coordinator and request other services. The portal is accessible on the Disability Services website and uses your UCCS credentials to log in.
- Excel Centers — If you come away from this article with anything, let it be the Excel Centers. I wish that somebody had told me earlier how much I would appreciate these centers. You should never be ashamed to need help with coursework, and the Excel Center employees are friendly and well-equipped to handle any homework you throw at them. There are four centers in total: language, math, science and multiliteracy (formerly known as the writing center). Across all centers there are varying options for your needs, like one-on-one tutoring, group study sessions, specialized equipment and quiet spaces to do your work alone. The centers will be hosting Lounging With Lizzie (a therapy dog on campus) throughout the semester at differing locations. All the centers offer coffee and tea and are free to use. The hours and locations of the centers vary, so check their website to find where you need to go.
It’s easy to feel isolated during your college years, but it shouldn’t be the norm. UCCS has a variety of support systems to lend a hand while you navigate your education, and this is by no means a comprehensive list. Below are links to many other resources for students and a brief description:
- Clyde’s Closet — Gently used professional clothing — students can take seven items over the course of the semester for free
- Mental health services at the Wellness Center — Psychotherapy, group sessions, and psychological and cognitive testing
- Physical health services at the Wellness Center — Acute illness treatment, gender affirming care, birth control consultations, gynecology, STI testing, medication management and much more
- Student Veteran Center — Lounge on campus open to all military-affiliated students
- First Year Experience — Mentor collective and peer coaching
- Office of Institutional Equity — Report an incident of unwanted conduct
- Student Employment — Find an on-campus job that will work with your class schedule
If at any time you are struggling and are unsure of where to turn, the Office of the Dean of Students will be able to point you in the right direction. Contact [email protected] or call (719) 255-3091 to set up an appointment.
Food pantry Clyde’s Cupboard in University Center. Photo by Meghan Germain.