Couples split, a degree is forever

A counselor’s advice to healthy relationships and student success

Roses are red, violets are blue. Your relationship better be healthy for you.

As Valentine’s Day approaches and couples walk the campus hand in hand, the director of the Counseling Center, Dr. Joan McCool, is working to promote healthy relationships for students.

After over 33 years of working at Buffalo State, McCool has developed a passion “for us all in this community to care for each other.

“I want students to have a deeper connection to campus and to each other,” she said.
McCool educates students on how to identify healthy relationships and how to get help if one believes he or she is a part of an unhealthy relationship. She also advises students to help their fellow struggling students by encouraging them to get help.

“My passion is for students to be successful, both academically and professionally,” McCool said. “I want them to graduate and to have a full life.”

She described healthy relationships as those built on equality, mutual respect and similar values — without having power or control over the other.  Overbearing, controlling behavior and name calling are red flags, and she urges people in these situations to talk to anyone they trust, including counselors on campus.

According to McCool, healthy relationships involve two people who respect each other’s privacy and who have healthy boundaries.

She also said partners need to have interest and attraction toward each other, adding that it helps if the pair has some similar interests.

Although she supports students having healthy relationships, she said that one should still focus on their education, which she calls “the most important thing.”

She added, “Concentrate on yourself and finishing school.

“You could break up; your degree and your education will always stay with you.”

McCool was a recent recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 2013.

She earned her BA from Cornell University and Ph. D. from the University at Buffalo. Although she didn’t grow up here, McCool and her family have “adopted” the city as their hometown.

McCool said, “Buffalo is a great place to raise a family, and I hope my daughters move back to Buffalo when they finish up [school], because more and more great things are happening in our great town.”

The Counseling Center is spending this season preparing for Mental Health Awareness Week, taking place from April 7-11 on campus. While preparations are ongoing, there are a few new confirmed events, including a local featured guest who showed a lot of love through his “upstander” actions earlier this year.

The Counseling Center is on the second floor of Weigel Health Center and is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, and 8:30-6 p.m. Thursday. Crisis Services is also available 24/7 at 834-3131.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: LiveWithColly