Navigating College with BFRBs

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Utilize the counseling center

Campuses across the country and the world are equipped to make the transition as well as your time in college bearable and fun. Most universities have counseling centers open to all students five days a week. These centers have licensed therapists, psychologists, and social workers who are willing to help with and listen to any issues that you may have. Student counseling and wellness centers can help you make a plan of action and give you advice. These offices are usually bound by confidentiality, meaning that you can talk to them about BFRBs without your professors and roommates having to know.

Befriend your RA

Residential assistants, also known as RAs, are trained peer leaders who live in the residence halls. Their job is to create a sense of community, maintain the rules of the college, and be a resource of guidance to the students living in the res halls. If you ever feel overwhelmed, lost, or are just having a bad day, your RA can help you navigate these issues. RAs are great listeners and are trained to be sensitive about student issues. If you are having a hard time communicating with your roommates about your BFRBs and would like them to know, your RA is a great resource. They can set up a meeting and help mediate.

Meet with student services or the housing department

Living away from home with a BFRB can be terrifying, but it doesn't have to be. Student services and the housing department can help with these concerns. If you are afraid of living with others because of your BFRB, you can arrange meetings with these offices. They can help find the best choice for you. If you have documentation of your BFRB from a therapist or psychiatrist, this can be useful in getting a single room, a room with someone you already know, or a room with fewer roommates.

Utilize accommodations

If you had any accommodations in high school they can transfer over to college. Colleges have an office for students with disabilities, including physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and mental health issues. If your BFRBs are triggered by stressful class environments, testing, and/or anxiety, you should speak with the disabilities office. They can help you get what you need to do well in your classes, including speaking with your professor on your behalf and talking with the housing office.

Talk to your professors

Whether through email or after class, if you feel that it is important for your professor to know about your BFRB, then you should express that to them. Your professors are there to help you learn and grow. Before bringing fiddles to class, you should speak with your professor to see if they are okay with it. If they are not, you can speak with the office of accommodations.

Communicate with roommates

Living with new people can be terrifying, but it doesn't have to be. If you know who your roommates are before move-in, try to reach out to them and get to know them. If you feel comfortable enough, tell them about your BFRB. Nine times out of ten people will be understanding and kind. College isn't like high school–– people are more mature and kind. If you don't know who your roommates are, you can always organize a meeting between them and your RA to help facilitate understanding. Communication is key in building healthy relationships and feeling safe. If you feel like you need to hide your BFRBs, living with other people may not be the best idea and can be anxiety inducing.

Carve out your own path

Colleges are diverse. There are hundreds of clubs and organizations for student involvement. Having something to do, being a part of something can be a great distraction from BFRBs. You can create your own organizations on campus through student governments or you can propose a support group to your counseling center. Be your own advocate. If you need help and support there are plenty of resources, you just have to know where to look. If you need something, don't hesitate to ask. Reach out, be active, and know your strategies. College is all about what you make of it.

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