My Aggie Story: Jason Kuszynski
Meet HelpLine volunteer Jason Kuszynski '19, who has overcome a great tragedy in his life and now has taken those experiences to become a person for every Aggie who needs someone to talk to.
StoryCorps: Helen & Alexandra
“It’s easy to get lost in the crowd.” Graduate assistant Alexandra Bulovas and psychology major senior Helen Sanchez discovered while volunteering for the Aggie HelpLine that students can experience isolation and loneliness in the midst of 60,000 other students. Each told StoryCorps that the “privilege” of talking to callers has showed them that the A&M student body is resilient.
What HelpLine volunteers have to say about volunteering for the HelpLine…
“HelpLine is my absolute favorite organization on campus. It is so rewarding and a way to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the university that has given me so much, and to offer a listening ear to the students that need it.”
"Volunteering for HelpLine has been one of the most impactful decisions of my college career. Being able to give my my time and listening ear to anyone who may need to talk is extremely rewarding. I also love the opportunities it has given me to spread awareness about mental health and resources our campus has to offer those who are struggling."
“HelpLine has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve encountered during my time at A&M. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you can be there to support and offer a listening ear to fellow Aggies. Being surrounded by people who share the same value in helping others makes this an incredible experience.”
“Joining the HelpLine was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s a great experience and you’re surrounded by amazing people!”
“Being a HelpLine volunteer has been tremendously rewarding. I’ve been able to develop better communication skills and it feels humbling to know that you are able to be there for fellow Aggies. The support system at HelpLine has been phenomenal and it’s great to be a part of a team of such caring and down-to-earth people.”
“Volunteering for the Student Counseling HelpLine has been the most enjoyable and memorable part of my time at A&M. It isn’t an obligation but a second family, an accepting environment, and a place I enjoy being in the midst of a hectic week. As a HelpLiner, I have been able to become a more active listener, and been surrounded by individuals who truly take time to listen to each other. I could not have asked for a better organization to have been a part of at Texas A&M.”
“The only regret I have about the HelpLine is that I did not join sooner. Hands down, deciding to go through volunteer training was the best decision I made as a student at Texas A&M. I have met some of the most amazing and inspiring people through the HelpLine, some of which I know will be lifelong friends. The beauty and most appreciative aspect of the HelpLine is that while it is such a diverse organization, we volunteers have at least one thing in common: the dedication to help the students of Texas A&M. This commonality creates a solid foundation of respect for your fellow volunteers, which in my opinion contributes greatly to the success of the organization. Nothing in my life has been as intrinsically rewarding as volunteering for the HelpLine. I am subject to bias, but I sincerely believe out of all the wonderful student organizations Texas A&M has to offer, the Student Counseling HelpLine is the best one. The HelpLine experience will change your life.”
"Something that really surprised me about the HelpLine was the diversity among the HelpLine volunteers. It's a great opportunity for anyone to learn how to cope with tough situations or help someone else through theirs. Not only has the HelpLine training given me great skills for my future in psychology but it has also helped strengthen my friendships. Wish I would have joined sooner!"
"Volunteering at the SCS HelpLine has truly been one of the most valuable experiences of my college career. I've been involved in a variety of organizations here at A&M, and there hasn't been any other activity or group of people that has simultaneously enhanced my perspective, given me hope in the goodness of people, and vigorously allowed me to help other members of the Aggie family as HelpLine has. As cliche as some, or maybe all of that sounds, it couldn't be more true."
"Though I am pursuing a degree in Engineering, I've always been interested in the field of psychology. The HelpLine has given me an opportunity to explore this interest, while also providing me with necessary skills for effective listening and coping with trauma, which I can use even off the line. The intense training prepares you to handle any type of crisis situation, and the feeling you get from helping out an Aggie is indescribable."
"Working the HelpLine has been a really special experience for me personally. It is unique in that for those who are planning on pursuing a career in counseling, the HelpLine provides great preparation & hands on training for the future. Even for those not interested in counseling for a career, there is the opportunity to learn a wide variety of communication & listening skills that can be useful in everyday life. In addition to these things, it is a great way to get involved on campus, meet some new people, & most importantly, help out a fellow Aggie in need. If you are interested, I would encourage you to give it a shot; I think it's something you will really enjoy."
"What a wonderful way to get away from school and help people. It's also nice to meet such a wide variety of people and majors. Being an engineer, I want to stress that the HelpLine's not all psych majors - it's a nice mix of everyone, a truly great group of people. It also helps having Susan Vavra coordinating everything; she would do anything for the line and would go to bat for us anytime. I would recommend HelpLine to anyone who wants to make a difference and who is devoted to what they do. You'll never forget what you learn here. It's amazing."
"Being a HelpLine volunteer has been hands down the best part of my college experience. I was fortunate enough to meet great people, and learn great skills that will help me not just in a professional setting but in everyday life too! If you're thinking about joining, do it, all of us who have joined can, and do, vouch for it!"
“Being on HelpLine has been one of the most enriching parts of my Aggie experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in serving others. It is such an honor to be able to listen to someone else’s story and to be present to them as they share their experiences, possibly for the first time. I’ve met so many supporting and caring volunteers and have been become a better listener through joining HelpLine. HelpLine has expanded my worldview, made me more aware of the challenges faced by others, and has stretched me to become a more compassionate and empathetic person.”
"I can't put into words how I feel right now. I am writing this after officially leaving this exceptional service and I'm truly amazed at the impact that my HelpLine experience has had on me. I joined HelpLine with the intention of making a difference in the lives of other students and providing a support system for those who didn't have one. In reality, HelpLine made a difference in my life as well and provided an additional support system for me too. This experience is one that I will always value and the HelpLiners are people that I will never forget!"
“I’ve always thought that everybody deserves a listening ear. With HelpLine, I get to do something about it.”
“It’s been one of my most rewarding experiences at Texas A&M and I’m so blessed to have such a supportive family within the HelpLine and the opportunity to help fellow Aggies.”
"Volunteering at the HelpLine is probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. Having the chance to help others has been a gift and all the training that I got through HelpLine has not only helped me be a better HelpLiner, but a better person as well. HelpLine's steady presence and guidance for both callers and volunteers will always be a very large part of my life and something I'll always be grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of."
"Joining the HelpLine has been one of the most influential and rewarding parts of my college career. Having the opportunity to interact on a deep level with such a wide variety of people, and being forced to truly empathize with their situation rather than just hear it has really broadened my view of the world. The training is intense, but it makes the experience that much sweeter. There aren't many other opportunities on campus that allow you to help people in this way, and the bonus of learning to listen well has aided me both professionally and in my personal life. There are hundreds of places to volunteer at A&M, but HelpLine honestly pays its bounties both ways."
"The HelpLine has been an amazing part of my first year as a graduate student here at A&M. What a wonderful service the HelpLine provides for the A&M community. The HelpLine is a great place to volunteer if you have a desire to help people in some way. Also, the energy among the volunteers is incredible. Everyone really pulls together for the common goal of helping those who call. I look forward to several more years of service to the HelpLine and welcoming the new volunteers who join this great organization!"
"Working on the HelpLine has been one of the best experiences in my college career. While training is long and challenging, it is completely worth it. The people you will work with on the Line are amazing, and its great to have that support when you're handling a difficult call. What better way to give back to Texas A&M than be there for those facing a life changing situation."
"HelpLine has been one of the most fulfilling and worthwhile volunteer organizations that I have had the opportunity to participate in during my time here at A&M. My only regret is not joining it sooner. Working on HelpLine has showed me that you truly can make a difference in another person’s life.”
"I joined the HelpLine because I knew the time I spent here would be time well spent. In the beginning you learn that the HelpLine is a volunteer organization designed to help any distressed caller, particularly fellow Aggie students. But on another note you will find out very soon that this is an opportunity to be a part of an organization and a part of a team that is personable and truly caring. I don't think that I could have found another organization in college that has touched my heart and rewarded me in all of it's ways like the HelpLine."
"I was flying through college. Great grades, wonderful friends, and unbelievable experiences. But that changed when I lost two friends in a car accident and my father had brain surgery. I began to reevaluate things in my life and tried to figure out what was most important. Those events caused me to want to give back to my adopted community, and stop coasting by.
I found that there is no better place to give back than by volunteering for the HelpLine. It unites the most diverse group of people for a common cause, helping whomever is on the other side of the phone line. When the Student Counseling Service closes for the day, the HelpLine opens for those who need a listening ear or some information. The rigorous training, 8AM to 6PM for six straight days, can dishearten any potential volunteer, but EVERYTHING is done so that we can help the caller. I promise you will be rewarded with riches greater than gold by volunteering for the HelpLine. I know I have and continue to be rewarded because every time I hear about the HelpLine, my heart smiles."