Pitt’s Own Sweet Caroline – Caroline Stohler

Her Campus: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your involvements on campus?

Caroline: My name is Caroline Stohler, and I'm from Dresher, PA, otherwise known as "just outside Philly." I am currently a senior nursing student here at Pitt, and I'm getting ready to graduate within the next few weeks! I've been involved in numerous organizations around campus such as Pathfinders, CC Champions, and Actively Moving Forward in addition to participating in URMP and serving on the Dean's Student Advisory Board.

HC: What’s your favorite part about attending Pitt?

CS: What I love most about Pitt is the people. All of the clubs and organizations have allowed me to get to know so many different people, and I am so grateful for those I've met over the years. There's certainly a diversity of personalities, which makes it really cool to meet new people.

HC: We’re very excited to know about the new chapter of Actively Moving Forward at Pitt – could you tell us a bit about the process of getting it started here?

CS: Yes! Actively Moving Forward is an organization designed for students on college campuses nationwide who are grieving the loss or illness of a loved one. AMF allows students to get to know others around campus who may be experiencing similar situations. Over the summer before my sophomore year, my dad passed away, and coming back to school I really struggled academically, mentally, and emotionally. I sought help from the University's Counseling Center, which really helped me through those initial months. I attended both group and individual counseling, and I developed a close relationship with Heather Arment, one of the counselors at Pitt. By the end of my junior year, Heather approached me about bringing a chapter of AMF to Pitt, and I was more than happy to help. Throughout this year we have gained a lot interest in Pitt's chapter through word of mouth, flyers, and tabling at activity fairs. From all of this we have found that there is a lot of interest in this type of organization and a great need to bring AMF to Pitt!

HC: Did you ever think you would start an organization like this on campus? Was it a tough process?

CS: I never imagined I would start an organization on campus, especially during my senior year. I hadn't even considered something like this until Heather approached me with the idea. And even when she did, I never thought we would gain enough interest before the time I graduate, but I was happy to help as much as I could. It turns out, there is a lot of work in bringing a new club to Pitt. From gaining interest to writing a constitution, there was a lot we had to do before becoming official. However, looking back, all of the work was worth it!

HC: What kind of impact do you hope to leave with your work with Actively Moving Forward?

CS: With AMF, I really hope to help reduce the stigma of mental health, and specifically grief, around our campus. By creating an environment where students can meet others who are going through similar experiences, I hope grief and the effects of it are things people can talk about more. Additionally, AMF will really strive to advocate for these students who are dealing with difficult times by creating an official bereavement policy for students, something that is not yet in place. Hopefully by doing these things, future students won't struggle as much as I and other students have.

HC: As a graduating senior, do you have any words of wisdom for incoming students or underclassmen?

CS: My piece of advice for freshmen is to step out of your comfort zone, whether it be introducing yourself to new people on your floor or getting involved in a club or organization. It's a great way to meet people and find your niche at the university. Also, it's important to remember that everyone is in the same boat, so it can be awkward for everyone. Going out of your way to make friends will definitely be worth it in the long run.

 

Photo Credit: All pictures belong to Caroline.