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The expected college experience may be to learn, discover oneself and have fun at the same time. But one important factor is commonly overlooked or hardly considered — stress.

UCF's Student Development and Enrollment Services is offering a new way to help students manage stress before it becomes overwhelming.

A new collaboration of departments on campus, the Student Care Services is a program that ensures the well-being of students so their academic and personal success is not affected, according to a press release from UCF spokesman Gene Kruckemyer.

"When a student reaches out, the Student Care Services team develops tailored action plans for individual success," the release states.

Ann Marie Palmer, assistant director for Student Care Services, said the program has grown out of a need to assist students with the various resources that are available on campus and through community partnerships.

In times of distress, the importance for students to have good support systems and resources available to them — such as counseling services, financial support and academic support — has increased through referrals sent from UCF students, faculty and staff.

"When a student experiences extreme stress, the situation becomes overwhelming because many different factors are affecting a student's ability to make good decisions or prioritize the challenges ahead of them," Palmer said.

When stress springs from other factors, such as relationships, health problems or financial concerns, Palmer said all issues combined could significantly impact academic or personal goals. If challenges are attended too early, students would be less likely to reach a crisis level.

"Student Care Services wants to help students identify the best way for them to find their way at UCF," Palmer said.

The program also oversees UCF Cares, which consists of care programs and resources to focus on safety and well-being, respect, sexual violence and mental health. In the release, UCF Cares' goal is said "to build a culture of care one Knight at a time."

The complete list of services offered by Student Care Services can be found at http://scs.sdes.ucf.edu/. The office is located in Ferrell Commons, Room 142.

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Rachel Stuart is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelS@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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