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More than the right mental notes

September 4, 2013

More than the right mental notes
In his recovery from depression, music student Jarrett McCourt sings the praises of Western professors and friends who helped rejuvenate his spirit.

To say Jarrett McCourt is grateful he chose to study at Western is perhaps an understatement.

“When I first arrived at Western, everyone was so hospitable and welcoming,” says the music performance student from Windsor. “One of my music teachers spent a lot of one-on-one time with me, helping me adjust to university and just being there as a support. That was so generous and thoughtful of him.”

That generosity and caring was particularly evident during Jarrett’s second year at Western.

For a year, he battled with depression. Through the support received from professors, students and the Western community, he persevered (by his own admission) with “a rejuvenated spirit.”

“I’m thankful for their tremendous encouragement. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Jarrett, who worked this summer as a Summer Academic Orientation staff member, setting first-year students up for success. 

“Recovering from depression refocused my life, and it made me want to show others that I could overcome and succeed.”

And succeed he has. In June 2013, Jarrett graduated with a BMus, and in September he will start his master’s program in music performance and pedagogy at the University of Michigan.

Eventually, Jarrett plans to pursue a PhD in order to teach at the university level – with his eyes set on Western.

“My time at Western has prepared me to be a great musician and performer,” says the tuba player. “Every step along the way, the professors have really nurtured my skills, and that experience has driven my desire to come back one day to teach.”

Another driving force has been the bursary he received through The Parents’ Fund Award in Music – which motivated him to work hard in his studies.

“When I come to the point where I can contribute to my alma mater, I will…,” he pauses. “I’m so thankful for everything Western has given me and I want to help other students achieve their dreams, just as I’ve been helped.

“I want to bring the same generosity I received to everyone I meet, and take the values I’ve learned at Western to the community.”

To thank donors to The Parents’ Fund, he would perform a recital – perhaps mixing a little classical with his love for ska, funk and rock music.

“Music is so universal and speaks to who we are,” says Jarrett. “I’d love to play for them so they know that this music is what they’ve created.”

No doubt, when he’s done, an ovation would ensue.

Mental health help
Western provides services to help students manage stress and address mental health concerns. Through the Student Development Centre, students have access to professional psychological services, which include individual counselling and group workshops. Visit the Health and Wellness section of Western's website to find mental health resources for families.


This article appeared in the 2013 edition of Western's Parent Connection
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