How Not to Cope with College:
Jack: (Looking anxious and biting his nails) “I bite my nails to keep from feeling what I’m feeling. I push my feelings way down deep inside.”
Jessica: (Holding her cell phone and looking as if she is convincing herself she is relaxed) “When I ignore everything, I don’t have any problems. Stuff like school and homework, it gets me really stressed out. It gets me really stressed out so I just text and I go on Facebook and I feel so much better. I haven’t been to class in 3 months and I feel so great.
Lisa: (Holding two cups of coffee and rapidly speaking in Spanish, with English subtitles) “I drink too much coffee so I can stay up late and talk to my boyfriend. But now I can’t stop drinking at all hours of the day. I don’t know what to do.”
Tommy: (Slouching on the couch with eyes barely open looking exhausted) “I sleep like 20 hours a day. I sleep in my dorm room, I sleep in class, I sleep in the Union.” (Falls asleep mid sentence and is woken up my a hat thrown at him) I sleep in the Library, I sleep in the bathroom, I sleep here. I sleep pretty much everywhere.” (Barely finishes speaking and dozes off).
Flashes across the screen: Meanwhile, on the other side of campus… (A picture of the counseling center is shown.)
Super Counselor: (Working at her desk and then puts her hand to her ear and sounds worried) “I hear bad coping mechanisms!” (Rushes off to find distressed students pictured before in the Union. Super counselor pops up from behind couch where Tommy and Jessica are sitting) “Did I hear students in distress? I think the Counseling Center can help!” (Jessica hits Tommy to wake him up).
Tommy: (Still half asleep on the couch) “I don’t have the money for counseling.”
Super Counselor: (Looking enthusiastic with both thumbs up) “It’s free!”
Jessica: (Looking concerned) “I wouldn’t want anyone to find out.”
Super Counselor: “It’s confidential!”
Lisa: (Still holding all of her coffee cups) “But my problem is not that big.”
Super Counselor: (Speaking in Spanish) “It’s no problem!”
Jack: (Still biting his nails and looking worried) “Real men don’t go to counseling”
Super Counselor: (Reassuring) “Real men talk about their feelings.”
(Group agrees that they will try counseling. Super Counselor waves her cape and is off to help other students!)
The screen pans out from the Counseling Center sign in front of the Cutler Health building.
Holly Costar, Ph.D. (Staff Clinician): “What we do here is we provide a confidential relationship where students can talk about whatever issues are important to them. We don’t set your goals for you; we don’t tell you what you need to change about your life.”
Brent Elwood, Ph.D. (Staff Psychologist): “When I’m in the center working with someone, I’m trying to help them clarify what it is they want to accomplish or what problems they have.”
Kylie Cole, Ph.D. (Staff Clinician): “We just really want to lower the barriers to services here. We want students who need help, whatever that level of help might be, whether it’s homesickness or whether it’s a major mental illness, to be able to come in, consult with our staff and get the services they need.” Picture is shown of student talking with counselor in one of the offices at the Counseling Center.
Brent Elwood: “It’s exciting to leave home. ‘This is neat I get to go out and be on my own,’ and then it actually happens and students are surprised at how hard it can be, because it’s a big change. You suddenly have a new set of friends, you’re having to make friends, you’ve got to get used to a new living environment, a new eating environment, making decisions you didn’t used to have to make.”
Holly Costar: “Both by our ethical code and by law we are required to keep the information that comes into the Counseling Center confidential. So what this means is if somebody calls me and is asking if you’re getting counseling with me, I can’t tell them unless you tell me that that’s okay.” Picture is shown of two staff members at the front desk of the Counseling Center answering phones and making appointments.
Kylie Cole: “One of the new initiatives that we have here at the Counseling Center is called the Touchstone Project, and it has several different components, one of which is an anonymous web-based screening that allows students to interact with a counselor and dialogue with them anonymously if they are not ready yet to sit with a counselor one-on-one.”
Brent Elwood: “I think one of the things people think about the Counseling Center is only crazy people go there or you have to have a big major problem. The reality is that we do deal with people that have major problems, but we don’t think of any problem as too small to come in here. And I am always surprised when people say ‘I don’t know if this is a big enough deal,’ and some times it’s a huge deal and some times it’s not. But in either case, we’re here to talk to people about it and help them try and figure out what makes sense for them.” Picture is shown of clinicians and students sitting in a circle during group therapy in a room at the Center.
Holly Costar: “The Counseling Center is located in the Cutler Health Building, so it’s just around the back of where you go for your health services. We’re facing Gannet Hall, so if you’re in Gannet Hall, we’re right across the street from you.” A picture of all of the Counseling Center staff waving in front of the Counseling Center fades out to black.
Jessica is pictured smiling and music is playing as the screen reads: Jessica overcame her avoidance problems and started going to classes. She graduated summa cum laude and then moved to Alaska to raise Huskies. She won the Iditarod.
Lisa is shown smiling and holding a cup of coffee as the music continues to play and the screen reads: Lisa kicked her caffeine addiction, and went on to invent underwear you never have to change. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tommy is pictured sitting up asleep on a UMaine couch with music playing as the screen reads: Tommy started sleeping 8-10 hours a night. Later, he cured cancer.
Jack is pictured looking scared next to a dumpster as music plays and the screen reads: Jack chose not to go to the Counseling Center and subsequently did not graduate. Now known as “nubs” because he chewed off his fingers, Jack resides in the dumpster behind KFC, living off Famous Bowls.