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Dean of the College

Vassar College

The student is from a lower-income family. Sending work/study money home and can’t afford their own living expenses beyond what the college covers in financial aid. Worrying about their family having enough to eat. The student has been connected to the CARE (Case Management, Advocacy, Resources, and Education) office to assist with connection to needed on and off-campus resources. They continue to feel sad and guilty about being at school and not doing enough to support their family. The student starts to cry during your conversation.


  • Initiate conversation
  • Describe observations, express feelings
  • Ask open questions


  • Provide empathy and validation
  • Normalize and reduce stigma
  • Ask what kind of support they would like (problem-solving, listening, referrals)



  • You know this student is connected to resources, focus on your connection and support of them in the moment
  • Sitting with potential discomfort around expression of emotion, the reality of this student’s experience