Aztec commuters form community

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Aztec commuters form community

by Adriana Millar, Staff Writer

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A new program launched by San Diego State Counseling and Psychological Services aims to provide transfer and commuter students with more resources and support.

The program, called The TLC Experience, is facilitated by licensed therapist Manuel Rivera. TLC stands for both “tender loving care” and “transfer students, students living off-campus, and commuter students.”

Some topics covered at the organization’s meetings include stress management, self-care, communication and time management.

The group also plans on having conversation activities to deepen students’ self awareness and value-clarification activities.

“They’re bright students that run into difficulties and get on academic probation, not because there’s any academic or cognitive deficiency,” Rivera said. “This combination of new adjustments just gets to them and really starts to become a problem to a point where it starts to interfering with school.”

The TLC experience was inspired by another group Rivera started called the Transfer Student Support Group, which was put on hiatus last year.

“Those groups of students have always been near and dear to my heart, and they face some very particular challenges,” he said.

Some transfer and commuter students struggle with issues like adjusting to the size of SDSU, accessing the campus, navigating the social landscape and taking on a SDSU-level workload, Rivera said.

Biology sophomore and transfer student Danielle DeRosa said it was difficult adjusting to a new school without experiencing freshman welcome week activities or living in the dorms.

“I only know one other transfer student because we are both on the SDSU soccer team, and she has shared the same challenges as I have,” DeRosa said.  “She is also from another country so I know it has been hard for her to adjust living in not only the U.S. but also California.”

Rivera saw the need to provide more support to transfer students after realizing a lot of them were enrolled in his bounce-back classes, which are classes taken by students returning from academic probation.

Nearly 3,000 students currently enrolled at SDSU are transfers, according to the SDSU Office of Analytic Studies and Institutional Research.

Eighty-five percent of all students are commuter students, according to the Student Life and Leadership website.

Rivera said he hoped to create a safe and supportive space for students to network, establish a sense of belonging and connectedness, and learn about campus resources and skills in order to succeed at SDSU.

“I think if people in general are going to succeed, it’s important that they’re really in touch with their core values,” Rivera said.

Although only three students came to the group’s first meeting on Sept. 9, Rivera is still hopeful.

“Usually a lot of groups start out like that, with three or four students, and it grows from there,” he said.

DeRosa said the TLC experience could be very beneficial to her and other transfer students.

“It sounds like a really great way to meet new people who are going through the same challenges and new experiences as you are,” she said. “It also sounds like a great way to get accommodated with the campus and the resources that are available here.”

The group meets every week at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

To participate in the group, Counseling and Psychological Services asks students to first call their number at (619) 594-5220 to receive a general consultation with a therapist and to discuss their options.

Other options provided by counseling include stress management workshops, meditation classes and a helping-professionals group, among others.

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