Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
“I wanted to talk to someone. But who? It’s moments like this, when you need someone the most, that your world seems smallest.” – Rachel Cohn
Sometimes silence is a good thing. And sometimes it needs to be broken.
Everyone has moments and challenges that they are going through that are sometimes hard to talk about, but processing your experience with another person can be helpful in understanding the situation, airing frustrations, and in gaining new perspectives.
Oftentimes, this is effectively done by speaking with people who are close to you, like friends and family. Additionally, sometimes it can be helpful to talk with someone more removed from your friend group, family, or social scene. And that’s where we come in.
What is Speak to Swatties?
Speak to Swatties is a peer counseling group on campus consisting of upperclassmen who are committed mental health advocates self-trained in active listening and interested in talking with their peers. We are available to talk individually during our scheduled open “office” hours (coming soon!), appointment (you can email the entire group S2S.email@example.com, or one counselor directly) or via a 24/7 hotline (765-727-0555), which will be answered by one of the Speak to Swatties members. Additionally, Speak to Swatties hosts mental health advocacy events (one every semester) and parlor parties throughout the year. You can also get more information about us, along with current updates, via Facebook and/or our bulletin board in Parrish.
Ultimately we are here to do any combination of the following: listen, help think through options, assist you in finding your own solutions.
Additionally, we are working to have more involvement in national mental health advocacy and awareness.
Who are we?
First and foremost, we are your peers.
The unifying thread throughout counselors is that we are all upperclassmen who, for very different reasons, are passionate about mental health. But beyond this commonality we are also very different. Because the group is made up of students with a diversity of experiences and perspectives some of us may have gone through many challenges that you are facing right now. Depending completely on your own comfort level, there are situations where we can help refer you to another Speak to Swatties counselor who may have more insight into your experiences.
- please note that some counselors are required reporters
Dominic Castro-Wehr ‘16
Evan Rosenberg ‘15
Razi Shaban ‘16
Elyse Tierney ‘15*
* Required reporter
Kailyn Witonsky ‘16*
* a required reporter must report all crimes (or alleged crimes) including sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, intimidation, child abuse, and hate crimes involving at least one Swarthmore student, or taking place on Swarthmore property.
What can you talk to us about?
The best answer to this question is ANYTHING.
We truly are ready to talk about a huge diversity of challenges. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some times when you may want to use Speak to Swatties.
- When you’re sad for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all
- When you need a hug
- When you are challenged by body image or eating or exercising well
- When you are homesick
- Those things that are sometimes hard to name, let alone talk about
- When you are feeling lonely… or stressed… or tired… or overwhelmed
- Academic Conflicts
- Relationships (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
How do we differ from other resources on campus?
As peer counselors we are not professionals, are unaffiliated with CAPS and the Swarthmore administration, and are not meant to replace these, and other, important resources. Fundamentally, our work is different from professional counselors.
Ultimately, we hope to provide a service to people across campus allowing anyone who may feel, for any and whatever reason, more comfortable talking to students their own age who may have similar experiences.
We want to hear your story.
We are also open to feedback from, and involvement with, the larger campus community. If you have questions, comments, or concerns please email us at S2S.firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear about your opinions and experience.