This past summer, I wrote about my experience with anxiety. Now as the new school year begins, I start another journey: trying to get into counseling sessions. You see, last year, I had a wonderful counselor who really helped me cope with my anxiety. The problem is is that she is part-time, so the one day she is here, I have work. I now have to go through the entire process of being approved for sessions and finding a new counselor. This is not my issue.
My issue is with the Counseling Center's hours.
On Brandeis University's website, the hours are stated as 8 AM - 6 PM, Mondays through Fridays. Yet, when one continues reading, it is mentioned that the front office is opened from 9-5. In order to complete an evaluation, you need to sign into the front office to spend up to an hour filling out forms. Then, and ONLY then, can you have your initial meeting.
There in itself lies the problem. Not only do you have to devote at least 90 minutes of your day to get to the counseling center, it also has to be between the hours of 9 and 5. What the counseling center does not compensate for is everything ELSE that happens between 9 and 5 on the weekdays.
Every day, I either have class or work that starts at 10, meaning I cannot go before class. Then, I have a two-hour break during the day. Sounds great, right? Well, the front office has lunch from 12-1, meaning I could only come in after 1, which does not leave me enough time to get to class. And I am not the only one with this problem. Brandeis students are involved to the point where many are crammed with events from 9 to 5. That translates into students not receiving care because they cannot commit to an initial meeting.
So now you may ask, what is a solution?
Simple. Extend the hours for maybe two days of the week. I know there will be cries from the administration about budget costs. But when students are unable to get help and instead suffer, there needs to be a change in the program. What is wrong with staying open until 8 pm two nights? I am not saying we change to four nights a week like Boston University, but we should be making an effort to extend hours.
While I know my idea is far-fetched, I am hoping someone on campus agrees with me. It is hard enough admitting you need help. Not being able to commit to the short hours of the Counseling Center makes you feel that much worse. All I ask is that you share this message, and maybe something will change.