“Are you struggling in any area of your life? If yes, then great! You just convinced yourself to see Student Success,” said Maggie Free, Student Success counselor.
Instead of having one specialized focus, the Office of Student Success sets itself apart from other offices by its unique focus on the whole person. It supports spiritual, social and academic growth and adjustment, and it is open to all students, catering to each of their individual needs.
“It can be anything,” Free said. “Anything from ‘I’m struggling in my class;’ or ‘This professor, he’s so hard;’ or ‘I’m having trouble with my roommate;’ or it can just be ‘I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I don’t know where to go; here’s everything that’s happening, and I’m second-guessing my favorite color.’”
Although students can get direct help from a professor, advisor or residence director, the Office of Student Success acts as a starting point for those who are unsure of where to go next.
“Students may come with a whole bunch of problems they don’t know how to tackle, so they’ll come to us, and we’ll refer them to the right place. So, we’re kind of like a front desk or lobby,” Free said.
The Office of Student Success often refers students to specific departments, which offer a variety of services. Counselors help students pinpoint problems; then they direct the students to other offices such as Admissions, the Counseling Center or Residence Life.
Additionally, the Office of Student Success works to create an environment that is open and comfortable for students.
“We have a joke that we want to be ‘sometimes cool but always relatable,’” Free said. “We don’t want our office to be scary in any way; we want to be approachable.”
As Franciscan University of Steubenville alumnae, Free and Sarah Hull, the assistant director of Student Success, can especially relate to students, which adds an extra layer of understanding to their work.
“Sarah and I graduated within the last five years,” Free said. “We’re in it; we’ve been doing this whole college thing. We have that experience too. We want people to know that they can approach us.”
Experiencing college–student life is what led Free to work at the Office of Student Success.
“I knew I wanted to work with younger people,” Free said. “I knew there was a need to encourage them and give them the support they needed, especially during college, which has a lot of adjustments and life changes.”
As students get accustomed to the changes that college brings, the transition can be difficult. But Free offered some wisdom for students who are currently struggling.
“If you are here on this campus, God has called you to be on this campus,” Free said. “There’s a point and a reason for you to be here — you can be successful. If there was a chance that you could not be successful here, then you would not be here.”
Overall, Free encourages students to reach out and get help.
“If you feel that you need support in any way but you don’t know where to go, why not just go set up an appointment with Student Success?” Free said. “Because we can help. And if we can’t, then we know who can. If you know you’re struggling and you know you need support, then you should just come see us.”
With its surplus of connections and resources, the Office of Student Success can benefit any student. “We don’t want anyone to leave Franciscan at the end of the semester or year feeling defeated if there was a problem that we could’ve helped them solve,” Free said. “More often than not, there is a solution to the problem if you just ask for help.”
To contact the Office of Student Success, visit Starvaggi Hall, call (740) 284-5304 or email email@example.com.