Podcast: In Recovery, In College

How stu­dents in recov­ery from sub­stance mis­use try to nav­i­gate the col­lege experience

By Wyatt Cote | UConn Jour­nal­ism
Decem­ber 13, 2022

When you hear some­one ref­er­ence “the col­lege expe­ri­ence,” what do you think of? Bars? Par­ties? Drugs? Alco­hol? It’s okay, most peo­ple do. I cer­tain­ly did when I first start­ed col­lege. I thought that’s what the norm was, what every­one would strive to take part in. I wasn’t total­ly wrong, I don’t think. But I cer­tain­ly was not right, either.

What I didn’t real­ize then was how the idea of “the col­lege expe­ri­ence” changed from per­son to per­son, and how that com­mon­ly held per­spec­tive on col­lege could be so damaging.

In Recov­ery, In Col­lege exam­ines just this — how a cul­ture that cel­e­brates drug and alco­hol use is tox­ic to cer­tain demo­graph­ics of students. 

In this episode, I spoke with two Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut stu­dents, Jack and John, who share this per­spec­tive. Both men are cur­rent­ly in recov­ery from alco­holism and oth­er sub­stance mis­use dis­or­ders, and are attempt­ing to nav­i­gate the com­plex­i­ties of col­lege while main­tain­ing their sobri­ety. In addi­tion, the two explain how they devel­oped these dis­or­ders, and how they decid­ed to enter into recov­ery. They explain the neces­si­ty of com­mu­ni­ty, high­light­ing one UConn resource that has trans­formed their expe­ri­ence in recov­ery, in college.

The UConn Recov­ery Com­mu­ni­ty (URC), where the two stu­dents chose to be inter­viewed, sup­ports all UConn stu­dents in recov­ery, no mat­ter what they may be in recov­ery from. This includes sub­stance mis­use dis­or­ders, eat­ing dis­or­ders, men­tal health crises, and so much more. I also spoke with Sandy Valen­tine, the direc­tor of the URC, about the facil­i­ty and the com­mu­ni­ty she has helped to form there.

Lis­ten on Soundcloud:

Wyatt Cote is a senior at UConn major­ing in Jour­nal­ism. He pro­duced this sto­ry as part of the course JOUR3035: Pod­cast­ing in Fall 2022. The pod­cast placed in the top 20 of the Hearst Stu­dent Jour­nal­ism Awards 2023 Audio Competition.

TOP IMAGE: The med­i­ta­tion room inside the UConn Recov­ery Com­mu­ni­ty house on the Storrs cam­pus, where stu­dents in recov­ery are able to relax or engage in tele­health appoint­ments. Pho­to cour­tesy of UConn Today.