GUEST ROOM | Enduring Acknowledgement, Respect and Support for EARS

As a Cornell alumnus, it grieves me to hear that Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service will no longer offer peer counseling, given Cornell’s general liability insurance does not cover peer counseling. Although I graduated five years ago, I cannot imagine that the importance of empathetic listening and training has diminished, especially given the COVID pandemic. 

I first came to Cornell for the 2012 Revisit Weekend, in the shadow of a series of student deaths. The campus was subdued, with upperclassmen whispering furtively behind the excited faces of the admitted students. Black metal fences lined the bridges between North and Central campuses –– a brutal daily reminder of fragility of life and importance of mental health. I joined EARS as a freshman and ultimately became an EARS counselor and trainer.

BETTEZ | So You Think You Want to Be a Doctor?

My small hometown’s emergency medical services was so understaffed that at one point they started training some high school kids to be certified EMTs. Throughout junior year, my classmates and I took night classes so that the next year we could carry pagers around school and respond to  ambulance calls during the day. We learned how to do CPR, identify a stroke, treat burn injuries — pretty much the worst cases of every scenario. But once we were on real calls, I started to realize how bloodthirsty we had become. Secretly and out loud to each other, we hoped for emergencies — and not just minor injuries that would get us out of class.