by Bryan Giltner
April 28, 2020
The calm gentle music clears your mind. A judgment free zone to discuss the issues of your everyday life to an ear that will listen. The couch is waiting as you take the next step in bettering yourself on this journey of life. The Genesee Community College counseling office offers many ways for students to speak with a counselor when times get rough and students may feel like they have nowhere to turn. Colton Rodgers is one of those counselors.
His passion for counseling came from his desire to help others and that interpersonal connection that is a part of his profession. “I like to call it the human journey, no matter where you go, we all have to connect with each other, the interpersonal connection and the ability to help others really interested me,” said Rodgers.
The profession of counselors and the obstacles that they face takes a toll on those who help students through their issues of their daily lives. Rodgers said, “It is important to have that self-knowledge to connect with others because if you don’t know yourself then you won’t be able to connect with others.” It is the job of the counselors to help students take that next level into bettering themselves so that they live healthier, and happier lives.
The listening skill that is required for this job as a counselor is crucial to their effectiveness as a counselor and learning about each student who walks into their offices. Jeannie Burdick-Cummings, who is also a mental health counselor at GCC said that “Colton’s self-awareness, insight and good listening skills make him perfect for the job as a mental health counselor.” GCC students have also benefited from the interactions they have had with Rodgers. “Going to a few of the mindfulness meetings with Colton, I definitely noticed some change in myself – things that I never would have realized before,” said Chris Waide, a GCC student.
Rodgers stresses that being self-aware is one of the most important aspects to bettering yourself and maybe others around you. Waide said, “The biggest help for me and anybody going through anxiety I feel is serenity, being aware of your thoughts and the things you cannot control.”
Stigmatization of mental illness is still among our society. Students may often find themselves nervous to come into the counseling office and talk about problems they may be experiencing or even question if what they are experiencing is a mental illness.
Rodgers offers this advice to any student of GCC who may be apprehensive about coming into the counseling office: “You are constantly changing,” he said. “If you are open to it, you can get help. The biggest investment you can make is within yourself; feel your fear, and if you can change your behavior you can change your world.”