Photo Courtesy UCSB Counseling Services
Coming into this school, it sure is easy to feel like a number, a statistic. There are so many thousands of people on this campus every day. How can anybody ever hope to meet them all? The system, even, is such a large bureaucracy that trying to navigate it feels futile. Luckily for all us individuals, University of California Santa Barbara provides a number of pretty cool services that are here to help us get through each day with a smile.
Chief among these is the counseling service, or rather, services. The biggest complaint from students about counseling services is that they need to set appointments, and then the counselor’s appointment schedule is booked for a couple weeks. So what do you do when you need help right now? Sometimes crises cannot wait, and it would be really nice to have somebody ready immediately. For those situations, there is a 24-hour hotline to immediate help that can be accessed through the counseling services center (the number is 1-800-400-1572).
If neither of those options are appealing, and seeing the friendly face of a counselor in person would help the most, then UCSB provides stress management peers at the counseling center, psychologists at Student Health, and the occasional dog therapy day (which is awesome). If all of these resources fail, then seeking professional help might be the best option- and waiting a couple weeks for the professional counselors to become available is completely reasonable.
The professional counselors are the number ones, the aces, the head honchos and the go-to guys of counseling. Chances are that if a student walks into their office with a problem, they’ll walk out with a solution. That’s exactly the reason why these counselors are booked so far in advance. That’s why I took the time to set up an appointment when things didn’t seem to be going so well for me. After seeing a counselor and attending a dog therapy day, I felt quite a bit better.
I think that having to set an appointment in advance with the counselors is a reflection on just how helpful they are, and just how valuable their time is. It takes a long time to see them because they make sure to give everyone who makes an appointment a fair shake. I know I would be a bit peeved if my appointment was cut short so that somebody who walked in could be accommodated. There are other services for that. Go talk to a friend, see a stress management peer, or go to student health before demanding to cut in on other people’s appointment times.
By providing other, quicker services, UCSB makes sure that everybody can get the help that they need while maintaining the quality of counseling from its professionals. I cannot say that I personally needed to be helped through a dangerous crisis, but I am confident in the quality of the help that the counseling service gives. Would it really be a better system to have the professionals swamped by walk-ins? The quality of service would be degraded, and the stress management peers might get awfully lonely and need to see counselors themselves.