By Meghan Creane
As explained in an e-mail, “There has been a 100 percent increase in student appointments in the first two weeks of the term compared to last year.” This increase has led to some changes in the scheduling process of the center.
As Director Marcus Hotaling, Ph.D explained, “We’re trying to be as creative as possible with the schedule without limiting appointments” to accommodate for the influx of students.
The first week of winter term alone left the Counseling Center with “60 appointments, 19 of which were with new students,” a major increase from the first week of last year’s winter term, which consisted of “33 appointments and eight new people.”
Hotaling has been working with his staff to try and come up with the best system to work with the increase of appointments. “The ideal,” said Hotaling, “is to see people weekly,” but with the increase of students, this is not always possible.
The staff of the Counseling Center has changed to 45 minute appointments, as opposed to the usual 50 minutes, in order to fit a whole extra appointment in, usually during the morning or evening.
A student who attends sessions at the Counseling Center who wished to remain anonymous said, “I have noticed that scheduling appointments is a little more challenging, but the quality of the appointments is still as good as ever.”
Hotaling believes that the overcrowding in the Counseling Center may be due to three different things, the first being that “winter is rough because of the weather, it’s colder and snowy.”
Hotaling also sees an increase specifically in “first and second year students who did not do well first term,” as well as seniors who are starting to realize that “it is getting down to it.”
Hotaling also sees a connection between the increase in students and the long winter break. He notes that “not everyone’s life is like TV, so being home for so long can sometimes be hard for students.” The aforementioned anonymous student noted, “The Counseling Center does a great job of helping you understand that you are not alone in feeling stressed”—something that Hotaling takes pride in and hopes to continue to emphasize to students, referencing the fact that “last year we saw 22 percent of the student body and one out of every two graduating seniors had sought out our services at least once in their four years.”
Still, students are encouraged and recommended to visit the Counseling Center at least once, due to its stress-relieving benefits.