September 2, 2022 | CULTURE | By Grace Cutler

This summer was peaceful and enjoyable. It was a summer of great personal growth – both in and out of professional settings. It was a time to reflect on my previous year at Colorado College and even further back, learn countless strategies and skills to cope with what I had been struggling with for most of my life and, finally start to feel a bit more optimistic about myself and my life. 

I spent about seven weeks at the beginning of this summer participating in an intensive mental health program in which I worked very hard to reflect and discover more about myself, leading me to feel comfortable enough to write this piece.

I participated in group discussions five days a week about any number of topics related to mental and physical health, and chose to do weeks of exposure therapies to feel less panicked in high-stress situations like social interactions or driving. This program was very draining but necessary for me to do.

I cannot be more grateful for my friends and family for their continued support throughout my mental health journey. If anyone else is experiencing similar struggles, I encourage you to reach out to the Wellness Center and other resources on or off campus. If this program taught me anything, it’s that you can’t be fully successful in anything without being as physically and mentally healthy as possible. 

I also had the opportunity to work alongside preschool and kindergarten teachers and children during their summer enrichment programming. This opportunity turned out to be so much more than a job. It provided educational and perspective-changing experience which proved to be crucial to my personal growth this summer.

The children I worked with everyday reminded me about countless vital lessons we learn during childhood that somehow seem to be overlooked as we mature into adulthood. These include not taking yourself too seriously, having fun, always finding a positive side to every problem, learning how to effectively communicate your emotions and desires to others, and the importance of independence while simultaneously learning how to work as a team. 

I hope you all had a chance to relax and enjoy your summers. But rainbows can’t form without rain, and I hope you know that time off doesn’t always have to be pleasant. Sometimes even the unpleasantness can lead to happy discoveries and personal growth. 

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