Whether youre a freshman learning how to juggle school and activities or a senior thinking about graduation and a career, college can be an exciting time.

But with the excitement comes the pressure of fitting in, dealing with new relationships and balancing job and family commitments. Its natural to feel a bit overwhelmed and stressed out, said Cathy Yura, director of West Virginia Universitys Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.

If WVU students need help, they are encouraged to use the many free and confidential resources on campus, including group counseling offered by the Carruth Center.

We offer many kinds of groups each fall and spring semester,Yura said.Each group provides a safe, supportive environment for students to explore and work through issues with peers who share similar concerns.

This spring, the center is offering groups focusing on reducing social anxiety, coping with lifes ups and downs and working through the challenges of being both a student and a parent.

Becoming at Ease Around People

If students are uncomfortable around new people and would like to get out and make new friends, they may consider joining the Becoming at Ease Around People group.

The goal is to help students who experience a lot of discomfort or anxiety in social situations to develop skills for interacting with others and become more socially comfortable.

Students will learn some new approaches to dealing with situations they find difficult in a relaxed, supportive atmosphere,said Daniel Long, a staff psychologist who is leading the group.

Becoming at Ease Around People will meet 10 times beginning Monday, Feb. 11. Sessions will be from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Carruth Center on the third floor of the Student Services Center Building, next to the WVU Bookstore.

One Foot in Front of the Other: Survival Skills for Students Who are Parents

New this year is a group for students who are parentsOne Foot in Front of the Other: Survival Skills for Students who are Parents. The Carruth Center and WVU Child Development and Family Support Services are partnering for this family-friendly initiative.

Psychologist Tandy McClung and graduate student Teresa Stire lead discussions on relaxation techniques, stress management skills, parenting tips and self-care ideas, as well as other issues suggested by the group.

Come and help us develop a support group for some of the hardest working students on campus,McClung said.

The two group leaders understand the challenges of being a student and parent. Stire is a graduate student with four children; McClung returned to graduate school when her daughter was 8 months old.

The group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of the month in the WVU Student Recreation Center conference room (Evansdale Campus). Free pizza is provided for participants and their families from 6-6:30 p.m., followed by meetings from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Free child care is available at the Mountaineer Kids Club (http://www.wvu.edu/~childcare/src_room.shtml), while students attend meetings.

Those interested in attending are asked to e-mail childcare@mail.wvu.edu . For more information, McClung may be reached at 304-293-4431.

Mindfulness for Health and Well-Being

Returning this semester is the Mindfulness for Health and Well-Being group led by graduate assistant Matthew Whited and predoctoral intern Melanie Nuszkowski.

The seven-week group focuses on learning and practicing the basic principles of mindfulness to develop greater calmness and clarity.

Distressing thoughts and sensations are part of life,Whited said,but through mindfulness practice, you can learn to react to the inevitable ups and down of life in a healthy and adaptive way. Mindfulness entails a nonjudgmental way of being, experiencing and responding to life.

Meetings will be on Mondays from 5-6:30 p.m. beginning Feb. 25 at the Carruth Center.

If students would like more information about a spring group or would like to join a group, they are encouraged to call 304-293-4431 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of the group leaders. More information can be found online athttp://www.wvu.edu/~cocenter/Groups.html.

Carruth Center on the Net:http://www.wvu.edu/~cocenter/