Going Mental with Nicole: How School Bonding Helps My Mental Health

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I had the opportunity to attend the Georgia Press Institute Conference with some of the other Roar journalists on Friday, February 15th.  It helped improve my mental health in multiple ways—some that I didn’t expect.

I was uplifted by how encouraging everyone was at the conference, even people who were outside of our newspaper.  A professor who led one of the sessions at the conference sat with a group of students, myself included, and asked each of us what our plans after college were. He was really encouraging, and I’m grateful for his attitude towards students’ aspirations.

I attended a session titled “The Watch Dog,” where students shared what journalistic work their school published and uncovered.  One student paper investigated unethical wait times for on-campus counseling appointments, where they also discovered discriminatory prejudices a counselor held towards a blind student.  I was happy to see that other college students were taking up roles as advocates in their student media.

This trip improved my mental health because everyone on the trip really bonded.  I remember before the trip I felt empty and wished I belonged to more than I felt I did at the time.  This trip made me realize that I really do belong and I’m very thankful for that. I love that I get to be surrounded by amazing, talented journalists who are encouraging towards one another.  It was a really fun, eye-opening experience that I’m so grateful I got to take part in.