It’s October, so the feeling of the season is fear. I admit I am a Halloween aficionado, so I love a good scare: I find something cathartic in experiencing fictionalized fear that doesn’t actually pose a real threat. But not everyone likes to be scared, and real fears can pose a real problem, particularly in vulnerable populations.
We serve many of those vulnerable populations here at GCC, and students frequently come to college with a variety of fears, which can hold them back from success or even paralyze them if they don’t know how to address those fears, or if they don’t know about programs and resources that can help them. So what are we doing, as faculty and staff, to mitigate the fear our students are bringing with them to campus? How can we help to address those fears and instill hope and confidence in our students?
This is an ongoing conversation across campus, from the great work being done with VOICES to provide security for undocumented students (for whom the Guild recently helped fund a scholarship) to the book group reading The College Fear Factor to discuss strategies for addressing student fears (contact Elizabeth Bryer to join the conversation).
And then there are larger fears that we may all share, whether it’s about the precarious political climate in the U.S. or the earth’s climate as a whole. Some of us jump into action—calling representatives or starting their own local grassroots movements—while others may find themselves overwhelmed with the number of fears surrounding them.
So, rather than trying to scare you in this issue, I’m hoping to help find solutions and strategies for dealing with fears. And with any luck, this conversation might lead to action that helps us all sleep a little better at night.
I mean, unless your house is haunted. Then you might want to stay awake.