Five minutes with Connie Crandall



Editor’s note: The “Five minutes with” series focuses on a different person each time. The interviewer spends five minutes speaking with a person each week to learn about them, their specialty or something they are passionate about.


Connie Crandall is a mental health counselor at the SDSU Wellness Center. She graduated from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1975 and began working at SDSU in Residential Life in 1982. She received her master’s degree in student affairs and counseling at SDSU in 2001. Five years ago, she began providing free counseling services to SDSU students through the university.

Q:  What made you want to pursue a profession where you counsel people?

A: When I finished my master’s, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work with students or [in] personal counseling. But, I was already working in Residential Life and I just decided that I needed a change. I was in Residential Life in meetings and doing all kinds of things, but I wanted to get back to one-on-ones with students.

Q: Is there anything about this position that is challenging?

A: I think that each individual that walks through the door has different needs and meeting those needs of each student is a big challenge. I think sometimes schedules become challenging. Last fall, we were very busy and it becomes harder to get students in more frequently. It’s better this spring [because] we added another counselor. But I think that the biggest challenge is just meeting with each student and making them feel like you are 100 percent present there with them and you meet all of their needs.

Q: What are some of the issues you hear most about in counseling sessions with students?

A: One of the things we hear most often in the fall is the freshman transition and getting used to college since it’s so much different than high school. I would say that a majority of students are also dealing with some forms of anxiety and depression. We also see some students at the end of the year with seniors transitioning out of college and into the work world. You have a wide variety of issues, really, things with relationships, sexual assault, family issues.

Q: Why counsel students at SDSU?

A: I love college-age students. I think it’s a wonderful time of life. If you see a freshman come in and then you see them again as a senior, the changes and the transitions that happen there are just amazing. I love SDSU. I love the Midwest. That keeps me here.

Q: Is there a piece of advice you feel as if you are often relaying to students in counseling sessions?

A: I think when students first come in, they’re very anxious and some of them have just never been to a counselor before. But, a really important piece of information people need to know is that they’re just going to be OK. You might not feel OK today, but you will be OK. This is just something we can work on and that’s what I try to do with our first sessions — it’s just giving people hope. If you give them hope, you can give them something to hold on to.