It’s no secret that college is stressful, and the build-up of academic stress, future-defining decisions and personal pressure are enough to challenge the mental health of the most resilient students, and even the counselors who serve them. Liz McCormick, Mental Health Counselor, strives for balance the stress and work of her life through spontaneity.
When McCormick began college, her future was carefully planned: she would major in English, go to law school and become an attorney. She couldn’t have predicted falling in love with her social work class, but five years later, she graduated with a Master’s degree in the subject.
Despite her interest in education, which led her to various adjunct appointments after graduation, McCormick still never expected to end up counseling at a university. But when the Mental Health Counselor position opened up at UE, she was suddenly immersed in the student side of university life.
“I kind of just fell into it, and it was wonderful,” McCormick said.
McCormick continues to teach as an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College, a position which gives her a new vantage point to improve herself as a counselor.
It allows her to see firsthand the academic stressors students face, and vice versa, counseling improves her teaching because she is aware of what students might deal with outside the classroom.
Performing both positions sometimes makes her work difficult to balance but mixing things up ultimately keeps her happiest.
“It’s a way to step away from the counseling world and still engage with students,” McCormick said.
Becoming involved in university athletics are another outlet McCormick utilizes. Three years ago, an AceNote calling for an ESPN3 color commentator and play-by-play analyst for Purple Aces Productions caught her eye, and on an interested impulse, she responded.
“ESPN3 been such a good divide between what I do here and having something that I can pursue outside of mental health counseling, or even the education world in general — that its just a hobby,” McCormick said.
•She has a purple leopard gecko named Nyx
•She has run four marathons in four different states
•Her favorite place in the world is the area above the treeline in the Rocky Mountains
•She likes to watch movies and listen to music in Spanish to practice the language
•She once traveled to the Grand Canyon by herself and drove back through an ice storm
“Out of everything she does, McCorkmick’s favorite part of her jobs happen right in her office, sitting with students.”
Although she enjoys her extra activities, McCormick is passionate about her work and actively reaches out to students through her Monthly Mindfulness workshop series, which she began last fall. At each workshop, she discusses different coping strategies and how they can be implemented in students’ daily lives.
This workshop series is just one part of McCormick’s ongoing effort to bring proactive, wellness-driven mental health events to the campus community.
Her goal is that students will take the skills that they learn in her workshops and apply them not just at school, but for the rest of their lives, and that they will use them to help their friends, families and coworkers.
Out of everything she does McCormick’s favorite part of her jobs happen right in her office, sitting with students.
“That moment when a student’s eyes light up, like it finally clicks that what they’re saying and doing is helping improve things…you can see it, you can physically see it,” McCormick said.