What a week!
The building where our student lounge is housed flooded this week and our program coordinator’s office was filled up with water. As a result, the whole building was shut down and we have not been permitted to open our center to the students in our program for the duration of the repairs. Throughout the week, we have striven to provide a central gathering location for students in various places across campus but some of them weren’t able to come find us and connect with us because it was difficult to break the routine of dropping by the center between classes. Having to search for us proved to be disruptive and difficult because we never knew just where we would be each day. This situation had a profound impact on me in that it took me back to a time when I didn’t have a connection with the NRAP program. I felt isolated and disjointed this week just as I did two years ago. Some of the students who I did meet with mentioned that they felt as though they didn’t know what was happening because they hadn’t been able to connect with anyone like they normally do within the center and they expressed similar feelings of isolation. They talked about feeling like they lacked a place to just be and this was something I certainly identified with as I felt lonely much of the week, having only had the ability to connect with some students intermittently at random places on the university campus.
What I learned most about this experience is how important it is for us to have a location for student connection. It’s difficult to find time to set up periods when everyone can meet up and hang out in our busy day to day life as university students and employed members of society. Having a central location on campus ensures the students that when they stop by, someone will be there that they know and can connect with. The center is more than a place to house recovery meetings and provide coffee for those in attendance. It’s a home for most of us in an environment that can be alienating, lonely and sometimes hostile. Having NRAP to go to when recovery support is needed is one of the most important aspects of our program. I am truly grateful for the program and the student lounge where we can all connect with one another.