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.