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Seeing the World Differently

The first part of success is simply walking through the door and being willing to accept help. The next step is learning to have self-compassion and to treat themselves with kindness and grace as we learn the skills they need.

Amy Shaffer Post

As Mercersburg's social emotional learning counselor, Amy Shaffer Post '02 hopes students feel welcome to come to her office as they are.

"I hope they learn that there is goodness to come when we take the time to work on ourselves and that it also benefits those around us to do so," Shaffer Post says, noting that each student defines their own success in the work they do with her. "The first part of success is simply walking through the door and being willing to accept help. The next step is learning to have self-compassion and to treat themselves with kindness and grace as we learn the skills they need. Our work together is nearing completion when a student is able to recognize what they need to be successful and then can advocate for those needs to be met."

As they enter her office, students glance behind her desk and see the poem "Here's to the Crazy Ones" by Rob Siltanen (often credited to Steve Jobs). "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

"The reason I love this poem is that many of the students I work with are round pegs in square holes," Shaffer Post says. "They have grown up often in the infrastructure of a traditional school setting that isn't designed for outside-the-box thinking, making it a challenging and sometimes unwelcoming place for them. I want students to learn that this ability to see the world differently is exactly what we need from them. They will be the ones to solve our greatest problems! It is the reason I get excited to come to work every day."

Shaffer Post hopes students will share with each other the support they have received and the progress they have been able to make in working with a counselor.

"This will normalize seeking mental health support and ensure that our student body knows there is a confidential and judgment-free place on our campus where they are always welcome," Shaffer Post says, noting that she and her co-workers are working diligently to be present in other areas of campus, beyond the Rutherford Health and Wellness Center. "Wellness is an all-encompassing term that impacts every area of our lives, so we want students to know how they can find wellness in the academic buildings, the dining hall, dorms, and recreational areas."

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