N.C. State Counseling Center Offers Walk-in Sessions To Those Feeling Blue About Election

This story was written by Alison Harman, Technician


Amid cheers of "Obama!" and "Change" rising from Tuesday night's march to the Bell Tower, Kevin Eads was trying to get his own voice heard.

"It's ridiculous that all these people are running around crazy. Everything I worked for up to these 18 years has meant nothing," Eads, a North Carolina State University freshman in engineering, said, alluding to Obama's economic platform of lowering taxes for the middle class and raising them for upper-class citizens. "We're all going to make to same amount of money no matter what we're doing. Why don't I become a janitor?"

And motioning to those around him, many of whom were shouting the presumptive president-elect's name and rushing toward the Free Expression Tunnel on their way to the Bell Tower, he said he thought their choice was a mistake.

"We'll see what happens," Eads said.

He is not alone in his opinions.

Other students walked through the Brickyard as well, voicing their opinions in dissent of the nation's choice and, on occasion, countering cheers with "Palin 2012" and "Socialist!"

Their reactions are expected.

Youth voters have attached themselves -- along with their hearts and their emotional states -- to presidential and vice presidential candidates, Andrew Taylor, professor and head of the political science department, said.

"The level of enthusiasm and level of attachment to this race is higher than we've seen in a very long time," Taylor said.

This effect happens during every election, Lee Salter, director of the Counseling Center, said. Students following the election experience "some of the same feelings as if they're big basketball fans and lose a major tournament game."

And a candidate's lost chances at election can have a "stressor" effect on students, he said.

He said it usually takes students who are in a crisis state -- one in which stressors build upon themselves to the point where talking to family and friends is not enough.

Major stressors are usually handled with friends or those surrounding them, he said.

"People do talk it out, there's a lot of discussion," he said. "But for it to reach a level where they say, OK, I need to see a counselor,' that's very rare for just an election result or the loss of a major ball game."

But the counseling center will take any people who "are walking in if they are feeling down or distressed about their candidate losing."

"There's not been a lot of counselor activity needed around elections. It's a very busy time of year. The amount of people who come in is not above what we see," Salter said, adding that there could be a few people who come in each election cycle in response to their candidate's loss. "Anybody that really needs to be seen will be seen during the day."

He said he has never experienced a crisis situation in which a student has called after hours to talk to a counselor about the elections.

"I don't want to say people won't be affected emotionally," Salter said. "Stressers may add up where overall stress levels are high enough, but usually it's a crisis or it's an intense stress for people to walk in. Otherwise they tend to make appointments."
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