Visiting the Counseling Center by Brianna

So we’re in the fourth week of school and I’m beginning to feel stressed. I realize that I have been saying that I was going to go to the Counseling Center for months now, but I haven’t. As I am lying in bed I decided to check my e-mail (which I receive straight to my phone). One of the many e-mails is from campus notes. As I skim through the many events I notice one discussing the Counseling Center.

Apparently they were advertising for couple’s counseling. I began to think, hey what would it hurt? As I thought about it, I had a change of mind. How can I go to couple’s counseling for my boyfriend and me, when I haven’t even gone for myself yet?! This is when I decided it was time to stop “talking” and start “walking.”

I got out of bed, got dressed and made my way toward the Counseling Center to arrive during their walk-in hours. Walking through the building I began to feel nervous. The courage that got me out of bed and on my feet had disintegrated during my drive and completely disappeared upon my entrance into the building.

I approached the desk and spoke with the receptionist. As I spoke with the receptionist I began to realize that “walk-in” meant nothing. I spent about 10 to 15 minutes filling out papers and reading over things. Thinking I was finally done with all the forms, I returned the paperwork to the receptionist only to be asked to sit at the computer and spend another 10 to 15 minutes filling out a questionnaire and background information. After that I sat for another five to 10. This walk-in had become a sit-in!

Finally I was called back to a counselor, or so I thought. It was actually a graduate student. This would not have been an issue if, as a graduate student, a tape-recorder was NOT required during every session. However, this was the case. By the time I finished the additional paperwork and he had set up the tape-recorder, we only had 15 minutes left to talk because I had a class.

The questions he began to ask me were the typical questions – “What brings you here, how close are you with your family, have you ever harmed yourself, do you plan to, how are your relationships on campus?” Even though this man and his tape-recorder were complete strangers, I found it easy to open up to them. I think it was the environment, I felt as if I wasn’t being judged, he was just here for me, to listen to MY problems.

Every once in awhile I would stop talking and be ready for him to say his opinion or start talking about his own life, since this is what my friends would do (if I was talking to them). But that is not what he did at all, instead during pauses; he would either restate what I had said to him previously or ask another question. It was a great way for him to let me know that he was really listening.

Once it was past the time of the beginning of my class, we decided to schedule for another visit. He offered group or individual counseling. I personally couldn’t understand why anyone would want to go to group therapy. He explained the benefits, and it sounded extremely interesting. I decided to make it a personal goal to eventually attend a group session. We scheduled to meet again for another one on one and I left for class.

As I was walking through the brisk Bowling Green wind I realized that I felt a bit lighter. By going to the Counseling Center I can see how much better it feels to be able to talk to someone who is actually concerned about what I had to say. It is great to know that counseling is offered for free on campus, and I’m glad that I’ve finally taken advantages of this free service. Though I did not have much time to talk, I still feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder. I am looking forward to my next session.

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