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It is no secret that the Institute provides a wide variety of resources for students seeking emotional or mental health support. To name just a few, MIT offers Student Support Services (S3), Mental Health Counseling, and Community Wellness. These programs contribute to an extensive support network that has helped many students solve serious problems in their lives.

My experience with these services has been excellent. I am most familiar with MIT Medical’s Mental Health and Counseling and Student Support Services. One of the main reasons that these programs were effective is that using them was convenient. I was always able to find time in my schedule to make an appointment with a counselor at MIT Medical, as they are open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on most days. Outside of these times, one can always call in and speak with somebody, whether it is the middle of the night or on weekends. And for those with unpredictable schedules, there are walk-in hours as well.

S3 operates at similar hours and provides a similar level of convenience. Beyond the ease of access, both services are excellent resources when you find yourself burdened by excessive work, interpersonal conflicts, or physical and mental strain. The counselors and deans are willing and able to help you out with virtually anything, and always treat you with kindness and respect. After your visit, the staff always takes great care to follow up with you to ensure that you are receiving all the help you need.

However, as convenient and comprehensive as these options are, many students do not take advantage of them. One of the unfortunate drawbacks associated with these types of programs is the negative connotations associated with them. More specifically, students often have a hard time convincing themselves that they need help with their mental and emotional well-being. For many, it is initially very difficult to muster the courage to seek help. Many students associate services such as Mental Health and S3 with admitting defeat and being weak. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

MIT students are driven, strong, and oftentimes a bit stubborn. It is difficult for some students to ask for directions, let alone ask for help. Contrary to what some take for granted as truth, going to Medical or S3 is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a sign of weakness. It is simply an acknowledgement and an understanding that all humans have their limits, and that you may have reached yours. MIT affects different people in different ways, but for many of us, it is truly taxing. We all get burnt out from time to time. Trying to pretend that we do not is ultimately self-destructive.

My sophomore year was the most difficult year of my young life. I was academically beaten, physically stressed, and mentally strained. I would not have been able to make it through the year if it were not for my family, friends, and MIT’s mental health programs. They provided — and to this day still provide — unparalleled support and comfort in my times of need. If you have any reservations at all about seeking assistance from any of these resources, I would strongly suggest that you take a leap of faith and get the help you need and deserve. You owe it to yourself to utilize all of the resources MIT makes readily available to enhance your college experience, and your life as a whole.