On Campus at the University of New York, Prague
10 July, 2023
In June, we visited the University of New York, Prague, to present to students of the Texas Tech Collegiate Recovery Programme, and learn about how the community supports their studies, recovery and wellbeing.
Have you ever attempted to boil down an entire experience into just a few words, or moments? For me, my own travel photos never quite capture that sense of awe and wonder of being in a different place, surrounded by new sights, and meeting new people.
But this trip was different.
After working with students from Texas Tech, and Dr Tom Kimball, at the University of New York, Prague, I returned home with two unforgettable moments etched eternally in my mind.
One, was while I listened to Dr Tom’s lecture, as he spoke to the class of students on the Study Abroad Programme at Texas Tech.
“Nobody owns Recovery,” he said, while addressing roughly a dozen students, all of different ages and, as I would come to find, from a wide range of backgrounds.
And while this didn’t feel like a new concept, to hear those words - particularly in an educational setting - resonated, strongly. In that moment I realised that no pathway, service, fellowship or theory of recovery held genuine sway over another.
That one person’s journey, my own included, would never supersede another or set out an unequivocally successful path for someone else. That each recovery story, on its own, means the world to one, but little elsewhere, unless it is followed by others.
Which brings me to the second moment, or moments, which I brought home from Prague.
During the trip, I had the pleasure of interviewing several of Dr Tom’s students, and members of one of the most established Collegiate Recovery Programmes in the world.
Talking about their life now, their lives before the programme, and hopes for the future, I asked each member a simple question: What is their favourite part of the Collegiate Recovery Programme?
And the answer was unanimous.
Each student instantly reflected on the peer-support network within the university. The group they have become and feel part of, how it’s there for them whenever they need it, what it’s done for them and others.
They spoke about making connections there, having struggled to identify with and relate to others before they joined the programme.
A community, where everybody is focused on recovery. Where each journey is an example, but everybody is equal.
The students were fascinated to learn about Collegiate Recovery in the UK, and what the charity has been doing in recent years to create these communities for students.
In fact, I believe that a big part of why Bobby, Curtis, Tyler, Emmy, Stephen and Yousha were all happy to share their experience of the Texas Tech Collegiate Recovery Programme, is because it may help to stimulate the movement in the UK.
Communities helping communities build from afar, if you will.
Amidst the unquestionable beauty of Prague, and the excitement of a new and unique experience, this is what the trip was ultimately about.
Owning your own recovery, but sharing it to support as many people as possible.
We want as many students as possible to be able to share the experience of Collegiate Recovery. Find out more about our work creating a Recovery Friendly Pledge, here, and contact us if you are a student looking for support, here. You can also register for HEART, on the Home Page of this website, and chat to us and other students at any time, using the forum.